South Africa is considering charging neighbouring countries for their citizens who access health services in the neighbouring country.
According to TimesLive, the country’s Health minister Joe Phaahla said the department is consulting with governments of the country’s neighbours to see how they can contribute to the medical bills of immigrants in South Africa.
Phaahla was speaking during a site visit at Kalafong Hospital in Atteridgeville on Thursday, where Operation Dudula members blocked foreign nationals from entering the hospital. He said:
There have been suggestions and acknowledgement that the issue of additional services from neighbours does add additional pressure and that we must find ways to deal with it, including possibilities of contributions for some of the services by the governments of the neighbouring countries.
Every government has a responsibility to its citizens so we need to hold them accountable for their responsibility.
If South Africans go to Namibia to seek help, the Namibian government must hold us accountable.
If, for instance, we are unable to provide renal dialysis and people are flocking to Namibia to get renal dialysis, they must hold us accountable and say: ‘We’ve got your people here who need dialysis. We can provide it but what are you going to do to compensate?’ These are the things we need to put into regulation.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele warned that preventing access to healthcare can have negative consequences for patients, the public health system and the country’s citizens. He said:
We understand the public health system is overburdened. However, doctors and healthcare workers have an obligation to provide healthcare to those in need.
The Hippocratic Oath guides the actions of doctors, which includes them not withholding services because of religion, nationality, race, politics or social standing.
Government is hard at work to improve our healthcare system and deal with challenges.