Good physical and mental health enables participation in the joys of life. We know that good health cannot be taken for granted. We need to nurture and maintain sound health. Watch what we eat and do not poison our bodies. Exercise it and rest it when necessary. Sleep enough and be kind to yourself. Avoid hazardous activities and bad company.
In this journey of managing our best asset we from time to time need good advice, accurate diagnostics and the best modern day treatment medical science can offer.
Sadly, in healthcare in particular, the state and successive ANC governments have failed all South Africans badly, to the extent that visiting state healthcare facilities is often a risk to your heath.
State hospitals and clinics are understaffed and under-equipped. Queues are long, often for outdated medications. Best medications are only for the elite and connected, in the private sector.
Essential surgery and vital cancer treatment are often much delayed.
Incidence of post-surgical sepsis is high.
Stroke and trauma rehabilitation is substandard.
Antenatal care is not up to scratch.
You want to avoid prolonged obstetrical labour or a complicated delivery in many state hospitals.
Diagnostic equipment is either faulty or outdated or the expertise required to read or interpret findings is lacking.
In this setting the ANC wants you to embrace National Health Insurance (NHI), meaning more state healthcare.
It is certifiably nuts.
Rather create a Health Insurance Fund (HIF), set up a medical aid for every adult South African, administered by a much reformed private medical aid industry and privatize state hospitals (or close the worst offenders).
Create checks and balances to prevent unnecessary spinal and other surgery and hospital admissions,
The mere mention of NHI has resulted in the loss to emigration of scarce medical skills and specialists, a trend that is accelerating.
Reality is that rare and quality medical skills will not stay in or come to South Africa unless incentivized.
Private healthcare is working (despite its shortcomings and imperfections).Every South African should have access to it.
As a nation we could do so much better than state healthcare and NHI.
Quality healthcare for every citizen should be a priority of the state.
ANC government should also realize that the state through waste, corruption and mismanagement has disqualified itself from involvement in your and my healthcare.
Dr Johan Reid
Leader: Free Democrats of South Africa