The National Health Insurance (NHI) initiative will leave little distinction in service and quality between public and private hospitals once implemented, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has declared.
“We are starting a new decade in which we will be instituting decisive actions in the implementation of NHI. When it is fully implemented, there will be no distinction between public and private hospitals. We believe that, incrementally, we are going to be seeing changes and improvements in the quality of healthcare,” Mkhize said.
Mkhize made the comments on Wednesday during a visit to the post-natal ward at King Dinuzulu Hospital, to welcome the first babies of the new decade.
He said that 81.3% of Durban’s population did not have access to private medical aid, but stood to benefit from the NHI.
“They will receive quality healthcare from facilities like King Dinuzulu Hospital, which earned a MEC’s excellence award for a significant reduction in maternal deaths; an increase in safe caesarean sections; good quality neonatal care; and the commissioning of a specialised Kangaroo Mother Care ward.”
During Mkhize’s visit to the hospital, statistics revealed that KwaZulu-Natal had a total of 66 New Year’s Day babies – 34 boys and 32 girls.
The first New Year’s Day baby was born at midnight in the Ladysmith Hospital.
The youngest mother was just 14 years old and gave birth at Estcourt Hospital. The father of the baby is 20 years old.
The health department also revealed that there had been other teen mothers.
Mkhize exchanged gifts and presented some mothers with their babies’ birth certificates.
“This will be the norm from here on, where mothers can walk out of hospital with the birth certificate in hand and not have to go to home affairs,” he said.
Commenting on the birth of her little one, Khonelaphi Ngamu – who gave birth to a healthy boy weighing 3.4kg – said she was elated.
“I’m very happy today.”
Mkhize also congratulated KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala and the provincial department for leading the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets in South Africa towards control of the Aids pandemic.
This means that 90% of people living with HIV in Ugu, uMzinyathi and uMkhanyakude know their status. He said that 90% had received sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% were virally suppressed.
“Our message to South Africans is to encourage good healthy living, particularly now when non-communicable diseases are on the rise. Individuals and communities are encouraged to take full responsibility of their health, in partnership with the health care system.”