Monday, January 19, 2004

This is wrong
Apparently the new national health bill plans to dictate to doctors and health care workers, in the private sector, where they should practice. The point is to shift resources from affluent to poor areas. But there is no way that this can be good for health care in South Africa in the long run. For better or for worse, people go into a profession because they want to take control of their own lives, which includes deciding where one wants to reside and work. If this bill becomes an act it will simply deter people from entering the medical profession and accelerate the already significant exodus of doctors and nurses from the country. (They're already leaving in droves because of community service.) The end result? Worse health care for everyone. It also strikes me as an astonishing admission of failure. In effect, the legislation concedes that public health care isn't getting the job done, and that the private sector has to be coerced into making up for the government's shortcomings. Sigh.

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