Literally Yours: Health care belongs to the people since they fund it

The citizens of any nation are entitled to adequate health care. This includes physical safety, a place to live, clean and accessible water, education and scientific control of food and medicinal products.

It should cover the natural life-span from birth to death. Indeed, it should include pre-birth and post-death interventions.

Most citizens rely on health care provided by the state. Sadly, this experience is observably inadequate and often demeaning because of poor management and a lack of qualified personnel.

Patients are reduced to mendicants who have to queue at 4 in the
morning to be seen by a doctor on the same day.

It has happened that medicine stocks run out and the patient has to return for the prescription on another day.

Those who do have medical aid have limits on their choices because not all hospitals buy into all schemes. The
questionable practice of “co-payments” kicks in. No one gains except the service provider. The imbalance is passed on to the member as a questionable double whammy.

It is a sad truth that hospitals first ask for proof of your medical membership before they ask about the ailment that brought you there. Then they stack you in a hierarchy of severity called triage. How they can do this just based on observable evidence is beyond me.

Post-hospital care is mostly home-based. There are angels of mercy out there who do admirable outreach by providing basic home-care. Some are faith-based, others are provided by semi-funding by the state, while yet others function on that cornucopia of generosity called humanity. The success levels vacillate with the available resources. This is its tragic flaw.

Which brings us to the proposed National Health plan. Hopefully the model is based on those used in countries like North America and Europe, which have extended experience. One can only (hope) the exercise does not emulate the present disaster of replacing an education system that worked with the dubious outcomes-based system in place right now.

The spectre of non-card carriers pulling the short straw looms. I respectfully urge my readers to look at Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Banzi is Dead and George Orwell’s 1984 to explore the possibilities of chilling bureaucratic disaster.

Good health is a blessing from God. It is also a benefit and privilege that should be enjoyed by all who reside in our country. No political structure can ignore the built-in imperatives by allocating measured levels of service. It is paid for by tax rands. It belongs to the people because they fund it.

The money is not to be ear-marked for fat cats who pull rank for privileged medical care.

Neglect of this reality will have consequences that will spill over to future generations. Be warned. Beware. Be caring.

* Literally Yours is a weekly column from Cape Argus reader Alex Tabisher.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

Cape Argus

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