barlowThe Universal Health Coverage (UHC) system envisaged by South Africa’s National Health Insurance (NHI) White Paper won’t work. Amongst other things: it’s too ambitious; too hostile to the private sector; too reliant on complex bureaucratic structures inherently ripe for inefficiency and abuse; and it totally ignores the many pitfalls that face single payer financing mechanisms. But, writes Andrew Barlow, a researcher at the Helen Suzman Foundation,there’s also much to be said for some of the ideas within it. Barlow writes: “One potentially promising idea is the re-engineering of the Primary Health Care (PHC) platform. PHC begins, it says, ‘in the communities and is the first level of contact with the health system by individuals, the family and community’. It is the ‘heart-beat of NHI. The PHC services include health promotion, disease prevention, curative (acute and chronic clinical) services, rehabilitation and palliative services.’ …more