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NHI can succeed if we follow Cuba’s lead

Neelam Rahim |

4-minute read
21 May 2024 | 09:04 CAT

Image/ Parliamentary Monitoring Group

The National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill is still occupying the discussion, and so in the months to come following the years of its implementation.

The NHI is no longer a bill but an Act, and many argue about its success. However, many believe the NHI can succeed if we follow Cuba’s lead.

Cuba has established the best healthcare system in the world, free of charge to all its citizens, by totally overhauling the profit-based system of healthcare, writes Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.

Radio Islam International discussed the recently signed National Health Insurance (NHI) bill and its implications for South Africans with Mr Imraan Mukaddam, the Western Cape Coordinator of the National Consumer Forum and community activist.

“The NHI Bill has been spoken about since 2009, it’s has only materialised 12/13 years later and is long overdue,” says Mukaddam.

Advocating for the NHI, Mukadam explains, “it has given the private sector enough time to build up resilience against the implications of the NHI and how it will impact more the private sector then the public sector.”

According to Mukadam, advocacy for the NHI or a similar system ensures more equitable healthcare.

“The Advocating was driven by witnessing on a daily basis at the grassroots level how elderly, vulnerable and disable people have to sit in waiting ques for 5 to 10 hours before receiving assistance from a doctor,” Mukaddam added.

Meanwhile, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola noted that.
If we want examples of access to universal healthcare, we must learn from Cuba. Despite being subjected to crippling sanctions by imperialist America and its Nato allies for decades, it has managed to establish the best healthcare system in the world, free of charge to all its citizens. It overhauled the profit-based healthcare system and trained an army of healthcare workers to care for the community.

“The Cuban health system is built on the Socialist principles of providing quality healthcare to all. It focuses on prevention and is based on primary healthcare, accompanied by social involvement. According to Newsweek life expectancy in Cuba is higher than that of the US Cuban health workers have eliminated polio, and the country has the lowest rate of HIV in Latin America. Malnutrition is lower among Cuban children than it is among American children. Cuba has achieved this incredible feat partly because it has the highest doctor-to-population ratio in the world, with approximately 8.4 doctors per 1,000 people,” Majola writes.

Listen to the full interview on The Daily Round-up with Moulana Junaid Kharsany here.


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