Roll-out of 10 pilot projects marks first phase of NHI
WESTERN Cape MEC for health Theuns Botha says although the provincial government does not support the green paper on the national health insurance scheme in its current format, it supports the pilot project.
Botha says they will oversee the progress of the project "with keen eyes".
Last month, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said 10 districts, including George in Western Cape, would roll out the pilot project.
The launching of the project was the first phase of the 14-year roll-out plan of the NHI.
Botha said the Eden district (George) annual health budget was R658-million and strongly believed that the NHI needed to cover much more ground than the pilots were currently addressing.
"Because there are no public districts in George, two primary healthcare facilities, the Thembelihle and Conville community day centres, will benefit from the project."
Three district hospitals - Oudtshoorn, Riversdale and Mossel Bay - will also benefit from the roll-out . The pilot project has only two components: specialist teams at district hospitals and mobile clinic services to schools in remote areas. A specialist team will include a paediatrician, gynaecologist, anaesthetist, family physician and a midwife.
Botha also said: "We see this as a small part of a health service and cannot be seen as the testing field for the NHI."
At this stage, the department was appointing staff and also foreseeing the full implementation early in July.
In total, five specialists and five specialist nursing professionals will be appointed to fulfill an outreach and support function for the Eden district.
According to Botha, a major part of their function would be training and development.
"Between R8.5-million and R11.5-million has been earmarked for the district specialist team and about R3-million for school health services in the poorest areas."
A nurse, a community-care worker and an oral hygienist will form a school outreach support team in each of the seven sub-districts.
Treatment Action Campaign chairwoman Nonkosi Khumalo said they supported the government in the implementation of the NHI.
She said there were still questions that needed to be addressed in terms of the NHI's implementation.