Managing Human Capital for National Health Insurance: a Case of Nursing Capacity in the North-West Province
Molatlhegi, ltumeleng Noel
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Access to healthcare has become one of the most contentious issues in South Africa, where the two-tier healthcare system has made it almost impossible for ordinary citizens to have equitable access to healthcare, as they cannot afford to pay for it. Such polarized healthcare access implies that only those who can afford to pay will have access to the best healthcare facilities and amenities in the country. It is against this background of deprivation and inequitable healthcare access that the South African government introduced the National Health Insurance (NHD as the primary means of ensuring that every citizen has equitable access to healthcare, irrespective of their financial, economic, or social standing in society (ANC General Congress, 2010). The aim/purpose of this study is to examine whether or not the proposed National Health Insurance (NHD policy is realizable, given the existing human capital dynamics within the public health sector in South Africa. Desktop document review and analysis was the preferred research design and methodology opted for in the study. In that regard, the study was qualitative and exploratory - considering also that the NHI is a relatively novel health policy initiative by the State. The exploratory aspect of this fundamentally qualitative study was most suitable for the document analysis approach, as it is preparatory for further studies on the research topic (Bums & Grove, 2009). The key research findings essentially relate to the results or outcomes of the study, on whose basis the recommendations and conclusions were derived (Babbie & Mouton, 2001 :4, 563). The document/content analysis approach was exploratory in that it focused on the feasibility of the NHI in the context of the existing nursing staff challenges. In that regard the main findings indicate that there exists a relative degree of an increase in the production of nurses by various nursing institutions. However, the irony emerges insofar as the pervasiveness of attrition/shortages still abound in the totality of the healthcare (nursing and medical) sector, in which there are virtually enormous shortages in specialized areas such as dentistry, pharmacology, nursing professionals, and medical practitioners (Parliamentary Monitoring Group, 2012). Furthermore, the atrocious nurse-to-patient ratio of 203: 1 in the country augments to the staffrelated challenges that may impair the eventual implementation of the NHI throughout the country.