South Africa can’t wait for the final National Health Insurance (NHI) system in 2026 to start delivering on universal health coverage, but needs to start implementing projects and programmes that will make a real difference in people’s lives now. And this can’t be done without cooperation between the public and private health sectors.
This was the overarching message in a high-level panel discussion of chief executives from the private healthcare sector at the Hospital Association of South Africa (Hasa) conference currently underway at the Cape Town International Centre.
White paper is not enough
“NHI, in principle is the right thing to do, but implementation is the key,” said Vishal Brijlal, National Department of Health (DoH) advisor on NHI. “We have a white paper, but that is not enough. The policy needs to be followed by planning, implementation, and cooperation.
“We can’t just wake up on 1 April 2026 and hope by some miracle that NHI will be