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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


FREEMAN, M; SIMMONDS, J E  and  PARRY, C D H. Health promotion: How government can ensure that the National Health Insurance Fund has a fighting chance. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2020, vol.110, n.3, pp.188-191. ISSN 2078-5135.

Health promotion - keeping people healthy - is critical to ensuring that South Africa (SA)'s National Health Insurance (NHI) services and funding will not be overwhelmed by having to service and pay for large numbers of people with avoidable disease. Although the 2019 NHI Bill mentions health promotion, its lack of emphasis and the narrow approach proposed in the Bill make it unlikely that health promotion will have significant impact on population health or reducing healthcare need. Health promotion experts submit that there is in fact huge potential for carefully planned and researched health promotion to impact on population health. The establishment of a multisectoral National Health Commission or an independent Health Promotion and Development Foundation linked directly to the NHI Fund that includes several relevant government departments and civil society and researchers is proposed. Of the NHI Fund, 2% should be dedicated specifically to promoting health and preventing illness, which must support comprehensive, multisectoral health promotion interventions that go beyond awareness raising and health education. SA's specific realities and needs, including poverty and its related behavioural impacts and health consequences, must be taken into account.

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