South Africa’s health system is on the brink of a dramatic transformation. The National Health Insurance plan is arguably the most important policy change since 1994, and at its very core is what is known as Primary Health Care.
The premise is simple: to focus on prevention of illness, promotion of health and the early detection of disease. This is the Primary Health Care Revolution.
It comes not a moment too soon. Our health system is facing a desperate situation. The cost of treating diseases only once they are diagnosed late and are complicated and costly to manage is crippling our health system, and worst and most tragic is that people are dying.
What does this new health system mean to the average user? This week Health-e News and Cutting Edge bring you a guide to the future of health care in our country.
For the first time South Africa’s health care will start from the ground up, with community health workers taking invaluable care and education into peoples homes, even in the poorest of communities. South Africa’s 12 million learners will learn how to stay healthy through a vibrant school health programme. Clinics will provide the core of basic health care and essential screening, so going to hospitals will only be the very last resort.
This exciting change to Primary Health Care will revolutionize the way we care for ourselves and how we are cared for by our health system.
‘We should get excited because we will know about our health, whereas at the moment we only know when there is disaster. Can you imagine, knowing about [high blood pressure] long before you get the stroke, which is irreversible? About diabetes before you get the coma, before you get damage to your organs, whereby you may need new kidneys, which may not be available. Just knowing about those before hand and knowing how to protect ourselves, is very important and exciting to me.’
Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi
WATCH CUTTING EDGE:
SABC 1 AT 21H30 ON THURSDAY, 5 JULY 2012
PRODUCER: FATHIMA SIMJEE, HEALTH-E NEWS SERVICE