By Umamah Bakharia
While South Africa has made significant progress in tackling the HIV epidemic over the past 20 years, there are still significant challenges with HIV testing, which have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
SECTION27 and the Treatment Action Campaign presented its concerns with the National Health Insurance Bill to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health.
According to research conducted by former National Department of Health DDG Yogan Pillay et al, there was a reduction of 3.44 million HIV tests conducted between March 2020 and December 2020 in comparison to the same period in 2019.
Head of Health Rights Programme at Section 27, Sasha Stevenson chats to Radio Islam on what the project aims at accomplishing.
“Covid had a huge impact on HIV testing,” says Stevenson.
Against this backdrop, SECTION27 and the TAC will present submissions about the NHI Bill to ensure that the unequal health systems in South Africa are bridged urgently and sustainably.
“We know what happens when all power goes to one person and that power is the decentralized and there are checks on power,” says Stevenson on some of the areas of the campaigns submission.
The concerns that they have is how the NHI will be financed and an urgent need to build consensus surrounding health reform and practically move beyond current stalemates to realize the vision of an equal, equitable and quality unified healthcare system that all South Africans want and are constitutionally entitled to amongst other demands, says Section 27.
The parties have been in contact with people from the health sector from public and private regulator, academia, union and civil society to try and find out where some of the areas of agreement and disagreement between stakeholders.
This submission was made virtually yesterday, 1 December 2021.