We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

NHI is a journey, not a destination, says health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize

The NHI bill has been criticised by many.
The NHI bill has been criticised by many.
Image: Daily Dispatch/Alan Eason

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize punted SA's National Health Insurance (NHI) plans on a global stage at Durban's International Convention Centre on Tuesday.

He told delegates from 24 countries that it would improve life expectancy and reduce the burdens of disease and death.

Mkhize was speaking at the BIO Africa Convention, Africa’s Biotech Indaba, which showcases bio-innovations from SA and the African region.  

He told delegates that the introduction of the NHI would provide a firm platform for “advancing innovation, embracing new technologies and bridging the gap in providing new innovative solutions to guarantee better health for all South Africans”.

“The NHI is not a destination. NHI is a journey we must undertake together as citizens. There is no need to fear this change that will overhaul our health-care system, because no other generation has ever been equipped for this revolution as you have been.

“The most important thing to do as we work on the system together is to keep the channels of communication wide open and embrace all kinds of ideas that advance universal health coverage. We can and must do it for the people of South Africa to enjoy a better life” Mkhize said.

He told delegates there was a need to dispel misconceptions and urged South Africans and the health sector not be consumed by fear of the unknown.

Mkhize listed the misconceptions:

  • NHI bill is unconstitutional and will take away powers of provinces.
  • The NHI will bankrupt the country and is unaffordable.
  • NHI means private facilities will be nationalised.
  • The National Treasury has not been consulted.
  • The NHI will be another Eskom and will be mired in corruption.
  • NHI cannot be started until all problems in public health services are resolved.