Cape Town - 181101 - National minister of health Dr Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi discuss South Africa's possible trajectory towards universal health coverage at FNB Portside Building. Pitures: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN - The national health insurance bill (NHI) will need a massive reorganisation of the current health system, both public and private in order to be effective in delivering its objective, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said on Thursday.

Motsoaledi was speaking in Cape Town at the leader's angle on South Africa's NHI, organised by the University of Stellenbosch's Business School (USB).

He said the NHI bill would not be achieved without the creation of a single common fund which in itself will directly contribute towards access, efficiency and effectiveness of health systems, among other issues.

“This cannot be achieved without creating a single common fund, which in itself will directly contribute towards a unified health system by improving equity in financing, reducing fragmentation in funding pools across both the public and private sectors, and making health care delivery more affordable and accessible for the population,” said Motsoaledi.

"The definition of NHI is a health financing system that pools funds to provide access to quality health services for all South Africans based on their health needs and irrespective of their socioeconomic status.”

Motsoaledi argued that “people tend to make their own definitions about health, from which there is nothing presented in their arguments and it’s wrong”.

According to the minister, health goes beyond public hospitals and public clinics and also goes beyond clinics and hospitals. It goes right into the communities where people are, how they live and the environment in which they live in.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) thought that the “wrong” definition should be redefined and came up with a new definition which simply stated that health was not just the absence of diseases but is also a state of good physical, mental and social well being. 

Motsoaledi said the WHO recommends that countries should spend five percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on health and South Africa currently spends 8.7% of GDP on health in 2018.

The private sector spends 4.5% of GDP on health but only provides care to 16 percent of the population. The public sector spends 4.2% of GDP on health but only provides care to 84% of the population.

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African News Agency (ANA)