Thursday, October 28, 2021

Gov’t suspends controversial health policy

Following Government’s introduction of the controversial health policy that denies medical coverage to people who got injured during alcohol related activities including those associated with suicide and lung cancer, the government has now suspended the policy to allow for consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Addressing Selebi Phikwe District Health Management Teams (DHMT) staff recently, the Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Phillip Makgalemele said government has withdrawn the savingram following concerns raised by numerous stakeholders of the society. The policy has since been suspended to allow Government to consult all stakeholders before the policy could be re-introduced. 

“Because we value consultation, we have withdrawn the savingram to allow for consultations with all stakeholders,” said Makgalemele.

On 29 March, 2017, a controversial savingram from Health Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Shiraz El-Halabi titled “Removal from medical cover for self-inflicted harm” addressed to District Health Management Team (DHMT) heads stated that the implementation of removal of medical cover for self-inflicted injuries will be on drunk driving, riding motorbikes without helmet, failure to use seat belts for self or children as passengers, participation in riots and mass gatherings involving violence leading to injury, lung cancer associated tobacco and tobacco products and attempted suicide related to alcohol or drug abuse.

At the time El-Halabi also stated that “It has become increasingly clear that the cost of sustaining medical services has continued to escalate and, while a new health financing strategy which will articulate various health funding modalities is being developed, it has been decided that some services given in some segment of our patients will now have to be paid for.”

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