Health plan big priority

The government's move to make quality health accessible to all South Africans is an unquestionable moral imperative.

The government's move to make quality health accessible to all South Africans is an unquestionable moral imperative.

The situation in which the poor battle to access quality healthcare because they do not have medical aid is unacceptable.

It is in this context that we support the call by the South African Communist Party for quality health for all - an objective that can be realised with the National Health System.

Most commendable about the system is the fact that under it all South Africans will have access to all health facilities in the country, regardless of their socio-economic status. That this is not happening at present is unacceptable, and serves merely to perpetuate the serious inequalities of the past.

It is, however, important that in implementing the system the government should take cognisance of the current state of public health in the country.

We have an unacceptable situation in which hospitals are in a state of disrepair, a situation largely compounded by mismanagement of resources rather than the lack of them.

For example, a newly released auditor-general's report on the Gauteng health department has revealed serious infrastructural deficiencies in hospitals like Chris Hani-Baragwanath - where the boilers are said not to be working. In some instances funds budgeted for purchasing equipment have not been spent due to ineptitude.

Any system that seeks to improve access to quality healthcare for all South Africans must be preceded by management efficiencies or else such initiatives will be doomed to fail.

X