In Practice

Health promotion: How government can ensure that the National Health Insurance Fund has a fighting chance

M Freeman, J E Simmonds, C D H Parry

Abstract


Health promotion – keeping people healthy – is critical to ensuring that South Africa (SA)’s National Health Insurance (NHI) services and funding will not be overwhelmed by having to service and pay for large numbers of people with avoidable disease. Although the 2019 NHI Bill mentions health promotion, its lack of emphasis and the narrow approach proposed in the Bill make it unlikely that health promotion will have significant impact on population health or reducing healthcare need. Health promotion experts submit that there is in fact huge potential for carefully planned and researched health promotion to impact on population health. The establishment of a multisectoral National Health Commission or an independent Health Promotion and Development Foundation linked directly to the NHI Fund that includes several relevant government departments and civil society and researchers is proposed. Of the NHI Fund, 2% should be dedicated specifically to promoting health and preventing illness, which must support comprehensive, multisectoral health promotion interventions that go beyond awareness raising and health education. SA’s specific realities and needs, including poverty and its related behavioural impacts and health consequences, must be taken into account.


Authors' affiliations

M Freeman, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa; Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

J E Simmonds, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

C D H Parry, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa; Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

National Health Insurance; National Health Insurance Fund; Health promotion; Health promotion foundation; South Africa; Non-communicable diseases

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(3):188-191. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i3.14499

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-02-26
Date published: 2020-02-26

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