Dr Kerrigan McCarthy, from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, says that work done to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus may be helpful when government is rolling out the National Health Insurance.

“Health departments across the province and at national have seen how quickly and with impact we can act, so gone are the days where we would think we have to get this piece of legislation through and it would take forever. We know the people to contact; we know it can be done quickly,” McCarthy said in an interview.

“We know our bureaucracy can act when it has to.”

She said the enormous administrative components of the NHI will most certainly be strengthened by the “new cadre of bureaucrats and administrators who are going to gain experience in this context”.

McCarthy also believes South Africa’s health system will also be strengthened through an understanding of resources.

“The second area where out health system will be strengthened is by understanding our resources and being able to map out and have a better grip on what resources we have in which areas, wards, districts, sub districts, metropolitans and provinces,” she said.

“The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), together with our laboratory data, has mapped out geo-spatial indicators of vulnerability, of healthcare access and of utilisation – and all of this data will feed very positively into allowing the architects of the NHI to collectively assist in working together to bring the NHI into fruition.”

According to McCarthy, there has also been a going trust in government through its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What we have seen is a growing trust in our government and our Health Department’s ability to deliver and I think one of the biggest components of the NHI is perhaps communicating with both the providers and the recipients that the NHI can be achieved and the necessary administrative components of the NHI can in fact be brought about successfully by this administration,” she said.