Hardened development cynics, tired of the usual conferences and workshops should hot-foot it down to Cape Town to join the People’s Health Assembly which started today (6 July). Around 1200 delegates from 90 countries around the world, will be meeting for the next five days at the University of Western Cape, to discuss and campaign for “Health for All Now”. There isn’t a suit in sight.
This is the third global assembly organized by the People’s Health Movement, following previous gatherings in Bangladesh (2000) and Equador (2005). It follows hot on the heels of the first South African National Health Assembly, which has just concluded at the same venue.
The pilot phase of the National Health Insurance scheme in South Africa starts in ten districts across the country
The SHIELD project
In response to the 2005 World Health Assembly resolution on universal health coverage which highlighted the importance of research to create an evidence base for health financing reforms. The Social Health Insurance for Equity in Less Developed countries (SHIELD) project recently published an evaluation of the health systems of three African countries (Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania) in the Oxford Journals.
The SHIELD project critically evaluates the health systems of these three countries, through an equity lens and to the extent to which financing mechanisms could address the equity challenges in these countries.
The Abstract is posted below.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi unveiled South Africa’s national health insurance (NHI) plan last Friday that seeks to extend universal health coverage to all citizens by 2025. The plan will be phased in over the next 14 years, starting with pilot schemes in 10 areas in April 2012. The idea of extending coverage to all was first discussed at the African National Congress’s (ANC) 52nd Annual Conference in December 2007 and reinforces South Africa’s Bill of Rights provision that “everyone has the right to have access to healthcare services, including reproductive healthcare.”
Under South Africa’s current two-tiered approach, health care is heavily skewed towards the private sector. Though only 20% of South Africans seek care in the private sector, the majority of resources are concentrated there and it has effectively distorted pricing across the public sector.