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28 February 2013

SA needs more efficient health spending

South Africa needs to spend money allocated to health care more efficiently, the Board of Healthcare Funders of SA (BMF) said on Wednesday.

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South Africa needs to spend money allocated to health care more efficiently, the Board of Healthcare Funders of SA (BMF) said on Wednesday.

"South Africa already spends 8.5% of its GDP [Gross Domestic Product] on health and still has poor health outcomes when compared to similar middle-income countries," BHF managing director Humphrey Zokufa said in reaction to the national Budget unveiled.

"It is evident that South Africa needs to more efficiently use the money it already spends on health care."

Zokufa is also a member of the national health insurance (NHI) ministerial advisory committee.

NHI model similar to Gautrain  

He said the NHI model could be similar to the Gautrain model where the private sector was contracted by government to fulfil the function of building the entire system.

"This model creates flexibility and establishes an appropriate platform to attract, retain, contract and remunerate the required skills and expertise adequately," he said.

In his Budget speech, Gordhan said pilot NHI projects had been initiated in 10 districts in 2013.

"[This]...will include improvements to health facilities, contracting with general practitioners and financial management reforms," Gordhan said.

Role of national health department

"A new conditional grant is introduced this year to enable the national department of health to play a greater role in co-ordinating these reforms."

He said the initial phase of the NHI would not place any "new revenue demands" on the fiscus.

"Over the longer term, however, it is anticipated that a tax increase will be needed. The National Treasury is working with the department of health to examine the funding arrangements and system reforms required for NHI."

 
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