Briefing Paper

South African National Health Insurance (NHI) Policy:Prospects and Challenges for its Efficient Implementation

“In 2011 South Africa’s National Department of Health (NDoH) launched the Green Paper on
the National Health Insurance scheme. This brief discusses the positive aspects and challenges of the scheme. It argues that the current incapacitated status of the health system in South Africa displays a model of inequality in resource management, distribution and sustainability, due to the two-tiered prototype system. Consequently, it agrees that there is an urgent need for
an enhanced, equitable and sustainable health-care system. Drastic changes are inevitable, as the financing model, pricing regulations, service provision and quality need to be improved. The implementation of changes is set to take place over a period of 14 years, from 2011 to 2025. An NHI scheme has been modelled in various countries, and both successes and failures have been reported. There is a chance that the model may work ideally according to the policy; however, there are elements that could render the system unworkable, such as
uneven distribution of resources and inadequacy of health workers’ professionalism and ethics. Therefore, this paper explores the potential hindrances and makes recommendations.”