President Ramaphosa to meet The Elders on NHI

Sunday, September 1, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Tuesday hold discussions with The Elders, an eminent group of global human rights and peace campaigners and former heads of government.

Talks will centre on South Africa’s introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI) as part of achieving universal health coverage.

The Deputy Chair of the Elders, Graca Machel; Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway and Director-General of the World Health Organisation and Ricardo Lagos, the former President of Chile, will visit South Africa as part of their now three-year-old global campaign in support of universal health care.

The World Health Organisation defines universal health care as meaning all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, which ought to be of sufficient quality to be effective. At the same time, the use of these services should not expose users to financial hardship.

The Elders was founded by the late former President Nelson Mandela in 2007. Since 2016, the ground has visited countries including Tanzania, Indonesia, India and the United States to advance their belief that publicly-funded health care is the best way to meet the United Nations’ overall Sustainable Development Goal on health, particularly to improve the health outcomes of women, girls and adolescents.

The Elders are due to meet with Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and to engage with stakeholders, government leaders, health sector leaders and civil society in an effort to understand South Africa’s journey to Universal Health Coverage in relation to the introduction of the NHI.

Parliament is currently engaged in public consultation on the NHI Bill, which envisages access to health care based on values of justice, fairness and social solidarity.

On 3 September, the delegation will meet the Portfolio Committee on Health in Parliament and will have discussions with President Ramaphosa on how best South Africa can introduce health reforms that will lead to universal health coverage.

The Elders will address media following their engagement with the President. –