Mpumalanga – As the first round of public hearings on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill commences, the community of Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga has urged the Portfolio Committee on Health to accelerate the process.
The Portfolio Committee on Health continued with public hearings into the NHI Bill in the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality on 26 October 2019. The community came out in large numbers to make their voices heard on what should happen regarding the bill.
During the hearings, the chairperson of the committee, Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo, introduced the bill by highlighting its overview, what it entails and it’s objective.
In welcoming the bill, the people of Bushbuckridge told the committee that health is a constitutional right and they hope they will receive equal health services.
The community said the bill will also address the imbalances of the past, and that young and old people should benefit in the same way.
In the oral submissions, the people of Bushbuckridge urged the committee to accelerate the NHI Bill process, as it will create employment opportunities for young people in historically disadvantaged communities.
They said the government must go the extra mile for health care as it recently did to save Eskom and South African Airways.
The people further told the committee that primary health care will be the pillar of the NHI Bill, and will minimise the problems in the health sector.
The health infrastructure challenges and the poor state of service delivery at health care facilities were highlighted by the people in their oral submissions.
The objective of the bill is to achieve universal access to quality health care services in South Africa, in accordance with section 27 of the Constitution.
The committee called for written submissions from the public on the bill at the beginning of September 2019, and the closing date for submissions is 29 November 2019.
The hearings continue today in Kwaggafontein in the Thembisile Local Municipality.