The government-initiated National Health Insurance (NHI) has been lauded as a great development towards achieving equitable healthcare, particularly for the poor, but reports The Citizen, traditional healers believe they have been marginalised from the new dispensation.
This emerged from the public hearings undertaken by the portfolio committee on health countrywide to get input on the NHI Bill. The healers said the Bill, which aimed to achieve universal access to quality healthcare services in accordance with section 27 of the constitution, did not include their services.
Traditional healers in Mpumalanga expressed their concern to the committee during its visit to Thembisile Hani and Nkomazi local municipalities this weekend. Committee chair Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said the traditional healers told the committee that the Bill was a progressive move, but they claimed the government had ignored their role as traditional leaders, despite the fact that people were dying in hospitals.
The report says they were concerned that the services of traditional healers were being side-lined.
Dhlomo, a medical doctor and former health MEC in KwaZulu-Natal, said the traditional healers suggested that for the Bill to be successful, it should be inclusive of all forms of treatment. This included indigenous medications as there were traditional communities that believed in using these, they said.
The report says the broader community warned against spending money on implementing the NHI at the expense of essential services like infrastructure, water and sanitation. They said that inasmuch as they were looking forward to the implementation of NHI, government must ensure that other services did not falter.
Dhlomo assured the people that all their views and questions would be thoroughly considered after the hearings, when the committee would be dealing with the Bill in parliament.
The National Assembly’s Health Committee says it is seeing overwhelming support for the NHI Bill during its public consultation sessions which kicked off in Mpumalanga, Netwerk24 reports. Dhlomo is quoted as saying the first community they visited, in Bushbuckridge, urged them to implement the Bill as soon as possible ‘as it would create jobs for young people from previously disadvantaged communities’.
[link url="https://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/health/2197172/traditional-healers-have-a-bone-to-pick-with-nhi/"]The Citizen report[/link]
[link url="https://www.netwerk24.com/Sake/Muntslim/Mediese-Fondse/ngv-sitting-gemeenskap-wil-he-wet-moet-gou-kom-20191027"]Netwerk24 report (subscription needed)[/link]