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Ramaphosa gets award from New York health NGO for controversial NHI bill

27 September 2019 - 08:42 By Unathi Nkanjeni
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has been awarded a Universal Health Care Award for moving to implement the controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) bill in SA.

A New York-based non-governmental organisation The Access Challenge applauded the move, which is set for public hearings in October.

“The recognition of South Africa’s plan to achieve universal health coverage enabled by National Health Insurance (NHI) coincided with the adoption by the United Nations of the UN Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage, or UHC, which commits countries to advance towards full coverage for their citizens in four major areas around primary care.”

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize received the award on behalf of Ramaphosa in New York, where he was part of the SA delegation to the annual United Nations General Assembly.

In response to the award, Ramaphosa said he hoped the recognition would serve as motivation for the government to continue working with all sectors of society to achieve universal health coverage.

“This award is both a personal and collective honour shared by the social partners in SA who are united in our effort to build a healthy nation in which all citizens have access to health care and services regardless of their ability to pay for such services.

“This is a critical part of eradicating inequality in our society and building the SA we want,” said Ramaphosa.

While the health insurance has been heavily criticised and opposed by opposition party DA, Ramaphosa last month vowed that it is here to stay.

“I would like to say that the NHI is here to stay. Whether people like it or not, it's going nowhere.”