UNIVERSAL healthcare is critical for the success of South Africa and how it is implemented and how we roll it out becomes the important part, says Momentum Health Solutions chief marketing officer Damian McHugh.
Speaking at the virtual Momentum Thought Leadership Engagement this week, he said that their role as funders was to engage with the government and ensure that it happened.
“I am sure the government is quite willing to talk and engage with the private sector if we are doing it for the benefit of all South Africans,” McHugh said.
He said the National Health Insurance (NHI) did not have to be done centrally, but could happen with a provincial split where parts of it could be supported by the private sector to benefit those regions.
“We do also know that we need to uplift the care and quality of state facilities and the use of that delivery. In some geographies it is our ability to step in and provide private clinics where public clinics may not be available. The system that is established, the technology support that exists and potentially some of the existing solutions can be used,” he said.
Margot Brews, the head of Health Risk Management for Product and Strategy at Momentum Health Solutions, said amid the surge of Covid-19, most of the elective procedures were cancelled.
“We really just saw emergency procedures coming through at that stage. Back then, we were really wondering what the effect of this would be, whether we would see a big bounce back and a knock on run on claims,” Brews said.
She said when contrasting the fifth wave to the third wave, Momentum Health saw a big reduction in the number of tests.
“I think people are almost test-fatigued, and these days if you show signs of Covid, many people call it a flu,” she said, adding that “We can also see in the fifth wave a reduction in the number of positive cases that we are experiencing. Importantly, there is a big reduction in the number of reported cases.”
People develop the natural immunity after getting Covid and develop an immune response, and the impact of vaccinations have had a positive effect. Hospital admissions mimicked the phases with a marked reduction in the number of deaths as a result of Covid.
She attributed this to the country’s healthcare practitioners being able to diagnose Covid and treating it promptly and adequately, as well as the impact of vaccinations, showing that the country was learning to treat this condition.
Brews said medical schemes and their members also needed to monitor the impact of any delayed health-seeking behaviour, the increase in surgical admissions going into the next few years.