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Government plans to curb escalating healthcostsImage:GCIS Khanyi MagubaneThe South African government has approved the draft version of two new laws aimed at ensuring that all South Africans have access to affordable and quality medical care.The National Health Amendment Bill, which will determine tariffs for private health services, and the Medicine Control Amendment Bill, which will determine the functioning of the Medicines Control Council, will be soon published in the Government GazetteDepartment of Health spokesperson Sibani Mngadi says the escalating cost of private health care services in South Africa has been an area of concern as it deprives millions of underprivileged South Africans of receiving the best treatment.“The department engaged with the private health sector on this matter and it was agreed that there was a need for government involvement in addressing these challenges,” he said. “The sector [in itself] has not been able to find solutions through self-regulation.”A big area of concern for the department is the escalating costs relating to prescribed minimum benefits (PMB). According to the Southern African chapter of the Board of Health Funders, PMBs were introduced into the Medical Schemes Act to prevent members of medical schemes from running out of benefits for certain medical conditions.PMBs cover a wide range of close to 300 conditions, 26 of those chronic. These include meningitis, different types of cancers, menopausal management and cardiac treatment. Under South African law, medical schemes are obliged to pay in full for services relating to PMBs, but the challenge is that the determination of prices for the services is not regulated and as such, members who have illnesses falling within the prescribed minimum benefits end up paying high fees.After engaging with the public and private sector, a tribunal will determine a set maximum fee to be paidHealth in South AfricaThe South African Constitution states that, “Everyone has the right to have access to healthcare services, including reproductive health care.” As such, the government has a mandate to ensure that all South Africans have access to affordable healthcare, even in the private sector.In his budget speech this year, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel further committed the South African government to this mandate. “Spending on health services is projected to grow by over 10 per cent a year over the next three years.”According to the website SouthAfrica.info, over 700 primary health clinics have been built, 2 298 clinics upgraded and given new equipment, while 125 new mobile clinics are now operational.Speaking in parliament in September 2007, Manuel spoke of the steps government has taken to ensure the improvement of access to health services. He said that spending on health remains strong and by the financial year 2009/10, government would be spending R500 per family without health insurance.Useful linksDepartment of Health National treasurySouth Africa.infoMedicines Control CouncilBoard of Health FundersDo you have any queries or comments about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at [email protected]
Publications and other resources:Publications, reports and powerpoint presentations can be accessed here, of particular note are the Resource Manual for Community Capacity Building by Mancini and Bowen – which was recently updated, as well as the 2016 report The Importance of Community and Relationship Provisions by O’Neal, Mancini a& DeGraff. Training: Community Capacity Building training offers ways for military service providers and service providers in the local community to work in partnership, pooling resources to support military families and accomplish their program goals. The training is offered in a two-part series, which includes the following:• Community Capacity Building – Fundamental provides an overview of community capacity building and offers ways organizations can support service members and families. The program takes service providers through a four-step process to create an effective plan.• Community Capacity Building – Advanced provides more in-depth training on the various elements of community capacity building. Topics include assessing and discussing community needs, engaging military leaders and monitoring a plan’s progress.Access the training here! Webinars: The following webinars were created and hosted by the Military Family Learning Network (Community Capacity Building) in 2016.Making the Extension-Military Connection – an interactive discussion between between cooperative extension and military family readiness practitioners.Creating Value for Military Families: Extension-Military Connection – an in-depth case of collaboration between cooperative extension and family readiness practitioners. Best practices will be described from the standpoint of practitioners, and tools and techniques will be reviewed.Building Blocks of Military Family Readiness – discussing the building blocks of the Family Readiness System (FRS) and the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon (BTYR) program/model and how they contribute to the overall readiness of the military family and community capacity building efforts.For access to all MFLN webinars, click here! What is in store for 2017?More coverage of the pilot program Building Healthy Military Communities as it unfolds in seven states across the U.S., strengthening the connection between land grant university resources and military communities!A national campaign to promote a strong effort for community capacity building, more on this in January. As 2016 comes to a close, we’d like to review the resources that are available for professionals working with military communities.Why community capacity building is important: It is important to remember that today’s military service members and their families live, work and play in local communities throughout the country. They attend civilian schools and houses of worship, shop at local businesses and use local community services. Those community services play a key role in supporting service members and their families. By working together, military service providers and their civilian counterparts can build a community’s capacity to support service members and their families, and help them feel welcome and connected.
Parliament on Wednesday witnessed repeated adjournments amid pandemonium in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over Pune firing and police crackdown on BJP workers in Delhi on Tuesday. The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day on Wednesday minutes after it convened for the second time following uproar by Opposition members on the issue of police firing on farmers in Pune and lathicharge on BJP’s youth wing workers in the capital. The House witnessed two adjournments in the pre-lunch sitting on the two issues and the Chair had finally called it a day when it reassembled at 2 PM. Every time the House met, Opposition members, including those from BJP, Shiv Sena and SP trooped into the well protesting the police firing on farmers in Pune on Tuesday in which three lives were lost. Some BJP members were seen holding photos of BJP youth wing activists hurt in police action in Delhi on Tuesday while demonstrating against corruption and price rise. Around 40 Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha workers were injured in the lathi-charge during their protest march to Parliament. With the opposition not ready to relent, Deputy Speaker Kariya Munda adjourned the House for the day. RS: BJP wants Chidambaram to quit Opposition BJP and Shiv Sena, supported by AIADMK and Akali Dal, forced adjournment of the Rajya Sabha for the day, protesting police action against BJP workers in the national capital. BJP members trooped into the well shouting slogans, “Lathi-goli ki sarkar, nahin chalegi (Government wielding lathis and firing bullets will not be tolerated).” They displayed large-sized photographs of wounded workers as also the banners against the government. As the BJP members were protesting in the well, Shiv Sena, Akali Dal and AIADMK stood up in support. The trouble began as soon as the House met for the day with BJP members shouting slogans against the police action against the rally. They also demanded resignation of Home Minister P. Chidambaram. As Chairman Hamid Ansari took up the Question Hour, BJP members started the ruckus against alleged police brutality. Ruling benches countered the slogan shouting by demanding that Question Hour be taken up. As the din continued, he adjourned the House till noon. When the House met again, it was action replay. Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan pleaded for order even as BJP kept raising slogans. In the din, Khan asked ministers to lay papers and called for resumption of the short duration discussion on Sports Minister Ajay Maken’s statement regarding the Commonwealth Games which remained inconclusive on Tuesday. The BJP and some other Opposition parties had slammed the government on the CAG report on CWG, but the government could not come out with its version as the House was adjourned. – With inputs from PTIadvertisement