31st October 2018
CoRMSA attended and participated in a conference in August 2018 hosted by Public Service International (PSI) on the National Health Insurance (NHI). At this conference CoRMSA presented the importance of including and expanding access to basic healthcare service for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers being stipulated in the current NHI Bill. The conference resulted in various resolutions and highlighted that campaigning and advocacy is urgent. It was agreed that a Task Team be formed of Trade Union federations and progressive Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) to take these efforts forward.
On the 31st October 2018 Trade Union Federations and Civil Society organizations met to revisit the resolutions and concretize the task team and plans going forward. One of the resolutions of the conference was that ‘all inhabitants of the world must have access to our hospitals. This is irrespective of race, gender, religion, sexuality, and nationality. The conference supported better research into migrant experiences and uses of public hospitals. there was a recognition for the need for greater understanding of migrant rights’
Discussion of this resolution with the task team resulted in the resolution to be broadened to prioritize broad access to basic health care for all people in South Africa regardless of documentation. Furthermore an addition to this resolution emphasized that discussions on access to health for migrants should shift from focusing on overcrowding of facilities but rather point to incapacity of the Department of Health to provide basic services.
The Task Team highlighted key problems in the current NHI Bill. These included: exclusion of access to health for undocumented migrants, clarity on how the NHI fund will be administrated, lack of representation on the advisory committees as set out in Gazzette July 2017 by Trade Unions and CSO’s- this means that implementation plans and the Ministers informants will be skewed towards private party interests. The Task Team developed strategies and a way forward. This will be finalized and communicated further.