The Open Public Health Journal




ISSN: 1874-9445 ― Volume 12, 2019
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The Perception of Professional Nurses About the Introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI) in a Private Hospital in Gauteng, South Africa



V.K. Molokomme*, E. Seekoe, D.T. Goon
Department of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa

Abstract

Introduction:

Based on concerns raised by professional nurses working in a private hospital that hinge on financial implication of the NHI, the state of public health sector and implications of the NHI to the South African health system prompted the need to determine their perceptions on the introduction of the NHI in a private hospital in Gauteng province, South Africa.

Methods:

A qualitative, exploratory and descriptive design using a semi-structured individual interview schedule was conducted. Coding and thematic analysis of data were done. The sample was purposive, consisting of 18 professional nurses from a private hospital in Gauteng, South Africa.

Results:

Findings indicated that they acknowledge the principles of the NHI such as a right to access healthcare, equity, affordability, efficiency, effectiveness and appropriateness. However, there were concerns on the Department of Health’s ability to ensure adequate human resources, sufficient equipment, safe infrastructure, meeting the national core standards which are still hampered by challenges experienced in public hospitals. Participants indicated that the government is not ready for the implementation of the NHI, based on the perceived non-transparency on outcomes from NHI pilot sites.

Conclusion:

General views concerning funding challenges, based on perceived mismanagement of funds and irregular expenditure as well as poor communication with all stakeholders involved in the implementation of the NHI were raised. The NHI is not only about financing, it involves service delivery, management and governance of health care services. There is a gap in information available to healthcare workers concerning the implementation of the NHI in South Africa.

Keywords: National Health Insurance, Professional nurses, Perception, Private hospital, Gauteng, South African health system.


Article Information


Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 11
First Page: 234
Last Page: 242
Publisher Id: TOPHJ-11-234
DOI: 10.2174/1874944501811010234

Article History:

Received Date: 20/2/2018
Revision Received Date: 9/5/2018
Acceptance Date: 15/5/2018
Electronic publication date: 31/05/2018
Collection year: 2018

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© 2018 Molokomme et al..

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, 5 Oxford road East London, South Africa; Tel: +27(0)437047359; E-mail: vkmlkmm@gmail.com




1. INTRODUCTION

The awareness of National Health Insurance (NHI) policy implementation is very low amongst health professionals [1Booysen F. Perceptions of and Support for National Health Insurance in South Africa Available from: https://2017.essa.org.za/essa_3344-3Oladimeji O, Alabi A, Adeyini OV. Awareness, knowledge and perception of the national health insurance scheme among health professionals in mthatha general hospital, eastern cape, south africa. Open Public Health J 2017; 10: 187-94.[http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874944501710010187] ]. National health insurance, a concept introduced in the South African health system is being piloted since 2012 in the 11 districts of the Provinces in South Africa to ensure that all citizens have access to quality and affordable health care regardless of their socio-economic status [4Surender R, Van Niekerk R, Alfers L. Is South Africa advancing towards National Health Insurance? The perspectives of general practitioners in one pilot site. S Afr Med J 2016; 106(11): 1092-5.[http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i11.10683] [PMID: 27842630] , 5National Department of Health. NHI Pilot Districts Progress Report 2016. Available at: http:/www.health.gov.za./383- National-Health-Insurance:nhi-pilot-district-progress-report]. The NHI is perceived differently by professional nurses [1Booysen F. Perceptions of and Support for National Health Insurance in South Africa Available from: https://2017.essa.org.za/essa_3344-3Oladimeji O, Alabi A, Adeyini OV. Awareness, knowledge and perception of the national health insurance scheme among health professionals in mthatha general hospital, eastern cape, south africa. Open Public Health J 2017; 10: 187-94.[http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874944501710010187] ] [6Mabuza LH, Ogunbanjo GA, Hlabyago KE, Mogotsi M. Awareness of health care practitioners about the national health insurance in tshwane district, south africa. Open Public Health J 2018; 11: 93-103.[http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874944501811010093] -8Nkomo P. Views of professional nurses regarding the proposed national health insurance in a hospital in the mpumalanga province, South Africa 2013.]. It is a financing system conceived to provide all South African citizens with necessary quality health care irrespective of whether they are employed or not [9National Department of Health. Human Resources for Health South Africa 2011. Available at: http://www.hrhsa.gov.za]. Taking into consideration that the current health system funding is two-tiered hence the NHI seeks to close this gap by improving the public-sector health delivery, reduce the high cost of the private sector and improve the population’s life expectancy with an impact in reduction of mortality and morbidity rates as documented on Western European countries outcome of the Universal Health Coverage [10Savedoff WD, de Ferranti D, Smith AL, Fan V. Political and economic aspects of the transition to universal health coverage. Lancet 2012; 380(9845): 924-32.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61083-6] [PMID: 22959389] ].

The NHI policy implementation is motivated by policy reform of health care services informed by the World Health Organisation [11World Health Organisation. Research for universal Health Coverage: World health report 2013. Available at: http://www.who.int.whr]. The policy reform encompasses major health policy change aimed at improved health care delivery [12Cerna L. 2013.The nature of policy change and the implementation: A review of different theoretical approaches Available at: http://search.oecd.org/edu/ceri/thenature/policy/change/implementation].

The South African features of apartheid as characterised by fragmentation, racial segregation, lack of primary healthcare strategy and private healthcare, provided for the minority. This was a turning point in the current democratic era, pioneering for the change in the health system [13Chetty K. World Health Organisation International 2007. Available at: http://www.who.int/social_determinants/resources/csdh _media/chetty_equity]. The Constitution of South Africa (1996) advocates for the rights of access to health care services which should be promoted, fulfilled, protected and respected by the Government [14Heywood A, Hassim M. Health and Democracy Section 27: A guide to human rights, health law and policy in post-apartheid South Africa 2010.]. The National Department of Health 2030 vision on Universal Health care coverage also advocates for the accessibility of the health care services irrespective of the employment status that is unlimited and supported by the shared funds [15National Planning Commission. Our future- make it work National Development Plan 2030 1st ed. 1st ed.2011.]. Hence, the National Department of Health in its White Paper advocates for the structure of financing of central hospitals to be changed, to make these the best institutions as national assets and as training platforms nationally and internationally [16National Department of Health. National Health Insurance for South Africa Towards Universal Health Coverage 2015. Available at: http://www.gpwonline.co.za].

The NHI is to be rolled out in three phases over a 14-year period from 2012, focusing on the improvement of health care delivery in public health institutions and making sure that private health care consultation fees are reduced. It also hinges on improving the quality of health and life expectancy. These will be achieved by ensuring that the following initiatives are implemented: the municipal ward based primary health care; integrated school health programme; district clinical specialist and contracting of private health practitioners [16National Department of Health. National Health Insurance for South Africa Towards Universal Health Coverage 2015. Available at: http://www.gpwonline.co.za]. In addition, the National Department of Health outlined the National Core Standards as set up by the Office of Health Standard Compliance (OHSC) that need to be achieved ensuring that NHI provides quality care for all South Africans [16National Department of Health. National Health Insurance for South Africa Towards Universal Health Coverage 2015. Available at: http://www.gpwonline.co.za]. The OHSC is functional for quality assurance and accreditation of hospitals and health facilities to make sure that they qualify for the NHI funding [17Bateman C. Health leadership training academy tackles worst first. S Afr Med J 2013; 103(10): 707-8.[http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/SAMJ.7480] [PMID: 24273792] ]. The 2nd phase (2017/2018-2020/2021) of piloting is based on establishing the NHI fund and finalising legislation, hence at this stage, there is no payment by citizens towards the NHI [18The Davis Tax Commission. Financing the National Health Insurance for South Africa 2017. Available at: http://www.financingaNHIforSA/website/pdf]. Different countries’ Health Insurance Systems are structured according to their unique needs, Canada is primarily sponsored by the government with one mandatory health plan. Germany is government sponsored with 200 health plans, Singapore has a mandatory subsidized self-insurance and the United States of America has no mandatory plan and it is employer sponsored [19Ellis RP, Chen T, Luscombe C. Comparisons of Health Systems in Developed Countries 2014. Available at: http://www.bu.edu/law/files/2016/01/EllisPaper.pdf].

Nurses are the heart of service delivery and are the most recognisable force of health care in South Africa. The practice of nursing is grounded in standards and ethical values and it is supported by a system of professional regulation, thus determining the scope of practice for every level of nursing, identifying desirable standards of practice and competencies and to bring these to the attention of every nurse [20South African Nursing Council. South African Nursing Act no33 2005.]. This is enshrined in the regulations relating to the scope of practice of persons who are registered or enrolled under the Nursing Act, 33 of 2005 [20South African Nursing Council. South African Nursing Act no33 2005.]. Therefore, all professional nurses whether in public or private sector are bound by the nurse’s scope of practice in South Africa and are expected to be compliant with the National Core Standards. As such, the nurses’ perception of the implementation of the NHI will highlight the intervention measures necessary for its successful implementation. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the perceptions of professional nurses about the introduction of the NHI in a private hospital in Gauteng Province, South Africa.

2. METHODOLOGY

2.1. Design of the Study

A contextual study using a qualitative, exploratory and descriptive design.

2.2. Population and Sample

A sample of 18 willing professional nurses working in a private hospital in Gauteng was purposively and conveniently recruited out of a pool of 249 so as not to generalise the findings. Available studies were conducted in public institutions where the NHI is piloted hence in this study private hospital professional nurses were recruited. The sample size was determined by data saturation.

2.3. Instrument

Participants were interviewed using a semi-structured individual interview schedule with open-ended questions to determine their perception on the introduction of the NHI and its implication to the South African health system.

2.4. Validity and Reliability

Data quality was ensured by employing measures of trustworthiness which are; credibility, dependability, confirmability and transferability as outlined by Brink et al. (2012).

2.5. Data Collection

Interviews were conducted using open ended questions, probing and prompting employed to elicit more data. The interviews were audio recorded using a digital recorder.

2.6. Ethical Clearance

Ethical approval was obtained from the University of Fort Hare (REC-270710-028-RA Level 1). Permission was obtained from the private institution where the study took place. Informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to data collection.

2.7. Data Analysis

Creswell’s qualitative technique of data analysis was applied [21Creswell JW. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches 4th ed. 4th ed.2014.]. This entails preparing data; coding; developing themes, categories and subcategories.

3. RESULTS

Table 2 outlines the findings in themes, categories and sub-categories.

Table 1
Sample description.


Perceptions of professional nurses about the introduction of the NHI shared more or less same sentiments, though based on differing views. However, some did not seem to have a grasp of the NHI context. Table 2 gives us the structure of how data collected was analysed, coded and systemically developed into themes, categories and subcategories leading to presentation of results.

Table 2
Themes, categories and subcategories of findings.


3.1. Perceptions About the NHI

Most participants indicated that the NHI is about equal distribution of health resources to benefit all South Africans, as one participant indicated: “NHI is about equal distribution of health services to benefit the communities that are not able to pay for their own health care and are not to be segregated”. They also commented on the perception that it will bridge the gap between the current two-tiered health systems, as stated by one participant: “it is a system that will bridge the gap between the two-tiered health systems”.

There were concerns raised about the state of public health sector, shortage of health personnel and inadequate resources, contributing to the perception that it might not succeed, as one participant remarked: “Public sector will always have staff shortages and inadequate resources, although there will be improved access to health facilities, it will definitely be negatively compounded by these problems”. Another participant commented thus: “Nursing care in our public hospitals is very poor, patients stay longer due to complications. I don’t know how the government is going to help with this, and the most qualified staff are moving overseas”.

Scepticism with regard to NHI’s affordability was identified based on countries perceived as having a high unemployment rate. On the issue of payment to ensure affordability, a participant stated that “I think it’s going to be better to make it a flat rate if we are to pay”, “NHI will be affordable if the government allocates a certain amount for a province ”.

There were other perceptions as one mentioned: “When we talk about insurance we talk about coverage, you’ve been covered for your health, for example those well to do people can have medical aid to cover their health (sic)”. Another participant commented: “Why must I worry about the NHI? I am working in a private sector, NHI is a government thing, it does not have to apply to us”. Yet, one participant bluntly stated: “I do not know much about NHI and have no interest as such to seek information”.

3.2. National Core Standards

Responses were centred on patients’ rights, leadership and governance, operational management and infrastructure. Participants hope that NHI will improve health care service delivery as indicated by one participant: “With this NHI the government will better the status of the health institutions”. “the public health care sector will improve its health standards and most people will literally use public hospitals more than the private hospitals.”

The questionable personal and professional integrity of health professionals was seen as one of the major factors violating patients’ rights, as expressed by a participant: “It will make sure that patients are respected and treated fairly with some dignity and privacy, though staff need to change their negative attitudes which, ja it’s gonna (sic) take a long time”.

Doubts about the improvement of clinical support services were portrayed, especially with the constant shortage of medications, such that one participant expressed the following opinion: “My main concern is the shortage of medications because even when these mobile clinics go to rural areas they always have a shortage of medication, patients go back home without treatment”. Equipment issues raised were relayed as such: “If they have to implement that (NHI), they have to plan, start by training to have enough staff, have enough equipment and everything so that they can match private sector, otherwise having a NHI with no equipment or if it’s not cared for will not have good results”.

How health care institutions and funds will be managed under the NHI was asked by a participant: “Who will be managing this NHI?” And another participant remarked: “They must show accountability and ensure that resources are available and adequate”. There were concerns that not all health care institutions will be accredited for NHI due to dilapidated infrastructure, as verbalised by a participant: “Some health care sectors have buildings that are dilapidated while a few are being renovated in preparation for the implementation of NHI”. Another participant highlighted the fact that: “Management must make sure that buildings are maintained and safe for patients and employees.”

3.3. Private Practice

Great concerns were raised on the viability of the private hospitals and the medical health schemes after the full implementation of the NHI, depending on its success or failure, as comprehensively stated by one participant that: “The implication will be that, being in the private sector per se, if the health care systems and health care in hospitals in the government sector is improved, most people will literally use the public hospitals more than the private sector. With the fact that as being in private health care we will lose clients to the public sector, with a decrease in clients the private sector down the line there will be a loss of profits and value. They won’t be able to sustain us if we lose clients. I for one will be forced to leave the private sector, that’s one thing that might happen”.

However, participants expressed a need for a joint effort between private and public health sector to form one health system, therefore, sharing the burden of health care. Conflicting ideas on whether to continue or stop contributions towards private medical aid schemes are evident, hence most participants indicated that if the NHI works they will opt for it and stop contributions towards medical aid schemes.

3.4. Readiness for NHI

Most participants had no idea of what is happening at the pilot sites. This is perceived to be the result of poor communication, as indicated by one participant: “you know, their communication is poor, it shows that things are not progressing well in those sites”. However, another participant remarked in support of pilot sites, stating that: “transformation policies need to be piloted first before they can be rolled throughout the country”.

3.5. General Views on NHI

Perceived lack in communication on the part of policy makers and the government were seen as stumbling blocks in facilitating information dissemination, awareness and marketing of the NHI. Hence, participants lack a comprehensive understanding of the whole concept of NHI. “Give us information about this NHI, update us on what is planned and implemented and give us feedback”.

“Professional nurses like to be spoon-fed (sic) with information, if they pay attention to issues pertaining to health and the NHI they will be able to know about the progress, therefore, they must look for information themselves”.

Funding issues are of great concern as participants perceive that it will have a huge financial impact on those who prefer to maintain their medical aid schemes and still contribute towards the NHI. “Who is going to be paying for this NHI?” asked a participant. “I was not aware that all workers are supposed to contribute towards the NHI fund. This has a hefty financial impact…and already we are paying so much tax” lamented another participant.

How the NHI funds will be managed was another sore point for most participants: “who will be managing these funds?” “Well, I hope for the sake of the NHI passing, funds will be distributed evenly across institutions according to need”.

4. DISCUSSION

Professional nurses’ perceptions about the introduction of the NHI yield a lot of mixed feelings and concerns about its implementation. How it was perceived by professional nurses gives an indication that there is a lot that needs to be done to ensure that it is supported and there is enough information and transparency about the whole process of implementing the NHI policy.

However, it was reassuring to elicit that most were optimistic about the NHI ensuring that its principles like: improved access to health care, equity, social solidarity, affordability, efficiency, effectiveness and appropriateness will be covered. Challenges that are currently experienced in the public health care sector like shortage of human resources and inadequate equipment and health care resources led to others doubting the feasibility of the successful implementation of the NHI. There was some scepticism with regard to whether the NHI will be affordable based on limited trust towards the current government and there were fears that it will have a financial impact on those that will be eligible to contribute towards the NHI.

The perception of the context of NHI as a general insurance indicates that there is some confusion about what NHI stands for and as such, McIntyre suggests that the NHI interpretation has created some confusion with the word insurance, thus he prefers the use of the concept Universal Health Coverage (UHC) [22McIntyre D. National Health Insurance: Providing Vocabulary for Public Engagement 2010.]. Identified from participants was that there exists a knowledge gap with regards to the subject on NHI, which could be due to not having access to or time to read about current trends in the health sector.

Participants’ responses were also centred on National Core Standards which include patients’ rights, clinical support, leadership and governance, operational management, facilities and infrastructure. Most participants hope that the health needs of patients will be taken into consideration and care given in totality, which will contribute to positive outcomes for the whole population including the wellbeing of health professionals. On the contrary, this could lead to challenges experienced currently being unresolved, for example long waiting queues, delays in surgical procedures due to long waiting lists exacerbated by an increase in the number of patients.

Staff negative attitudes were perceived as a deterrent to patients accessing health care services, thus violating their rights to dignity. In other words, it is an indication that health care professionals with negative attitudes do not have personal and professional dignity. When analysing factors raised on the National Core Standards, participant’s concerns are genuine, these professional nurses left the public sector at different times and they do not see any improvements in the sector from the time they left until now. Participants are part of the communities, they have access to the public health sector and they observe the environment when they accompany their next of kin for consultations and treatments in the public health sector, thus their observations and experiences are plausible.

Some scepticism on the improvement of clinical support services was portrayed by participants, especially about the availability of medications and shortages which negatively impact on the wellbeing of patients’ recovery and uncontrolled chronic illnesses, causing more and severe complications. Poor management of equipment which compromises patient safety and wellbeing and an increase in litigations for the health sector. There are uncertainties and doubts about the NHI improving the status of the public health sector, as it currently deters public confidence. Therefore, how health institutions will be managed under the NHI will determine the effectiveness and the success of its implementation. These findings are consistent with other reports [3Oladimeji O, Alabi A, Adeyini OV. Awareness, knowledge and perception of the national health insurance scheme among health professionals in mthatha general hospital, eastern cape, south africa. Open Public Health J 2017; 10: 187-94.[http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874944501710010187] ].

NHI fund management concerns were brought about by a lack of trust in health institutions, based on media reports on the mismanagement of funds and irregular expenditures. Concerns about human resources were valid as health professionals have left the country in droves, with huge implications for the health system and those remaining to render health care. The perceived implications of staff shortages will be compounded by a perceived influx of patients.

Health care institutions must be accredited for NHI implementation in compliance with the Office of Health Standards Compliance. The fact that some public health care institutions are renovated and some are still in their dilapidated state gives the perception that the NHI still has a long way to go prior to its full implementation throughout the country [3Oladimeji O, Alabi A, Adeyini OV. Awareness, knowledge and perception of the national health insurance scheme among health professionals in mthatha general hospital, eastern cape, south africa. Open Public Health J 2017; 10: 187-94.[http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874944501710010187] ].

Perceptions of private practice extrapolated into two categories: the private health care sector and medical aid schemes. The private health care sectors’ professional nurses expressed different views about policy makers taking unilateral decisions concerning policy making on policies which are supposed to be implemented by nurses. However, another perception was raised that professional nurses are passive and do not participate in platforms created for them to air their views and debate issues that concern them directly, especially those relating to policy development.

Participants expressed a need for a joint effort between the public and private health sectors to forge ahead in creating one health system. However, this notion was disputed by private sector stakeholders [23Ramjee S, McLeod H. Private Sector Perspectives on National Health Insurance. SAHR 2010; 10(18): 179-93.]. The universal coverage does not necessarily mean a single-tiered health system [23Ramjee S, McLeod H. Private Sector Perspectives on National Health Insurance. SAHR 2010; 10(18): 179-93.]. The vision is to see Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) which share the burden of health care.

There is some eagerness to learn more about the NHI. Participants indicated that they support the concept but need to be exposed to more information and there should be more transparency with regard to the NHI implementation processes as supported by the study in Nigeria [24Olugbenga-Bello AI, Adebimpe WO. Knowledge and attitude of civil servants in Osun state, Southwestern Nigeria towards the national health insurance. Niger J Clin Pract 2010; 13(4): 421-6.[PMID: 21220858] ].

The inability to make choices on whether to keep private medical aid while also contributing towards NHI or just have NHI funding, poses a dilemma to some participants. However, they indicate that this will be determined by the full implementation of the NHI and its outcome. Concerns about the future of the medical aid schemes and the private health sector viability will be determined by the success of NHI implementation.

Pilot sites are bench markers that should give an indication of whether the implemented NHI policy has a positive impact on the population or not. Its outcome is important to be able to review strategies for implementing the NHI throughout the country. There is an outcry that not all stakeholders are consulted about the implementation of NHI in pilot sites and that there is no transparency with regards to outcomes. Even those who are working on pilot sites, have no idea of the processes that are being implemented in their own hospitals [8Nkomo P. Views of professional nurses regarding the proposed national health insurance in a hospital in the mpumalanga province, South Africa 2013.]. There are still challenges in the pilot phase marked by uneven progress across the districts and lack of adequate infrastructural improvement [4Surender R, Van Niekerk R, Alfers L. Is South Africa advancing towards National Health Insurance? The perspectives of general practitioners in one pilot site. S Afr Med J 2016; 106(11): 1092-5.[http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i11.10683] [PMID: 27842630] , 25Fusheini A, Eyles J. Achieving universal health coverage in South Africa through a district health system approach: Conflicting ideologies of health care provision. BMC Health Serv Res 2016; 16(1): 558.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-016-1797-4] [PMID: 27717353] ]. Communication is the main key to increase awareness on any developing policy process and its implementation. However, most participants indicate a lack of communication on the part of policy developers and the government hence their lack of comprehensive knowledge pertaining to the implementation of the NHI policy and its context in general. With advancements in technology and social media awareness through communication and the dissemination of information could easily be achieved [25Fusheini A, Eyles J. Achieving universal health coverage in South Africa through a district health system approach: Conflicting ideologies of health care provision. BMC Health Serv Res 2016; 16(1): 558.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-016-1797-4] [PMID: 27717353] ].

Concerns about funding caused an outcry, as some participants did not anticipate that they will have to pay for NHI as well as their own private medical aid scheme if they chose to retain it. However, participants do support the proposed NHI, the main concern is how much and how are they going to contribute towards the NHI. The funding principles supported by independent assessment will be of great value at this formative stage [18The Davis Tax Commission. Financing the National Health Insurance for South Africa 2017. Available at: http://www.financingaNHIforSA/website/pdf]. Therefore, the funding and costing impact will be determined by full implementation detail. There are other views that NHI’s current format is unsustainable unless there is economic growth [18The Davis Tax Commission. Financing the National Health Insurance for South Africa 2017. Available at: http://www.financingaNHIforSA/website/pdf].

5. LIMITATIONS

This study was conducted among professional nurses working in a private hospital in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Therefore, its findings will neither be generalised to include other professional nurses working in other private hospitals, public health sector nor to the entire Gauteng Province or other provinces.

6. RECOMMENDATIONS

6.1. Public Health

For a strong public health system, co-ordination of health services is essential in order to foster collaboration between public and private sector in sharing the burden of diseases.

6.2. Management and Policy Makers

  • The government must recommission closed nursing colleges to improve human resources.
  • Setting of clear guidelines on dissemination of information with regard to new policies.
  • Involve the Department of Education with regard to teaching NHI basics at schools.

6.3. Nursing Education

  • Active promotion of all health-related careers to entice potential students.
  • Educate students in nursing colleges and universities about NHI and have students come up with innovative ways of troubleshooting experienced problems.

6.4. Nursing Practice

  • Health policies should be spearheaded by health professionals who are going to implement them as this will determine the ease of transition and implementation of the proposed policy.

6.5. Nursing Research

  • Encourage professional nurses to undertake research studies on policy making.
  • Evidence based studies to be done on the impact of private/public partnerships in ensuring the strengthening of health systems of the country in view of the implementation of the NHI and its success.

CONCLUSION

Professional nurses’ perception about introduction of NHI reflects that they have great expectations about the concept and its implementation in the South African health system. However, there are reservations with regard to the government’s readiness towards its full implementation. There is still a lot of groundwork to be implemented to ensure a smooth transaction towards universal health coverage. Therefore, the importance of involving all stakeholders in policy development and ensuring effective communication and consultation prior to implementation as well as transparency in all processes that are implemented becomes imperative for the successful implementation of the NHI in South Africa.

ETHICS APPROVAL AND CONSNET TO PARTICIPATE

Ethical approval was obtained from the University of Fort Hare (REC-270710-028-RA Level 1). Permission was obtained from the private institution where the study took place.

HUMAN/ANIMAL RIGHTS

No animals/ humans were used for the studies that are bases of this research.

CONSENT FOR PUBLICATION

Informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to data collection.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The authors declare that there is no conflict, financial or otherwise.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership Programme in Health and all stakeholders that have sponsored and supported the programme.

REFERENCES

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[3] Oladimeji O, Alabi A, Adeyini OV. Awareness, knowledge and perception of the national health insurance scheme among health professionals in mthatha general hospital, eastern cape, south africa. Open Public Health J 2017; 10: 187-94.[http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874944501710010187]
[4] Surender R, Van Niekerk R, Alfers L. Is South Africa advancing towards National Health Insurance? The perspectives of general practitioners in one pilot site. S Afr Med J 2016; 106(11): 1092-5.[http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i11.10683] [PMID: 27842630]
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[6] Mabuza LH, Ogunbanjo GA, Hlabyago KE, Mogotsi M. Awareness of health care practitioners about the national health insurance in tshwane district, south africa. Open Public Health J 2018; 11: 93-103.[http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874944501811010093]
[7] Phillips. Future Health Index, South Africa local market report 2017. Available at: http://www.futurehealthindex.com
[8] Nkomo P. Views of professional nurses regarding the proposed national health insurance in a hospital in the mpumalanga province, South Africa 2013.
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Endorsements



"Open access will revolutionize 21st century knowledge work and accelerate the diffusion of ideas and evidence that support just in time learning and the evolution of thinking in a number of disciplines."


Daniel Pesut
(Indiana University School of Nursing, USA)

"It is important that students and researchers from all over the world can have easy access to relevant, high-standard and timely scientific information. This is exactly what Open Access Journals provide and this is the reason why I support this endeavor."


Jacques Descotes
(Centre Antipoison-Centre de Pharmacovigilance, France)

"Publishing research articles is the key for future scientific progress. Open Access publishing is therefore of utmost importance for wider dissemination of information, and will help serving the best interest of the scientific community."


Patrice Talaga
(UCB S.A., Belgium)

"Open access journals are a novel concept in the medical literature. They offer accessible information to a wide variety of individuals, including physicians, medical students, clinical investigators, and the general public. They are an outstanding source of medical and scientific information."


Jeffrey M. Weinberg
(St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, USA)

"Open access journals are extremely useful for graduate students, investigators and all other interested persons to read important scientific articles and subscribe scientific journals. Indeed, the research articles span a wide range of area and of high quality. This is specially a must for researchers belonging to institutions with limited library facility and funding to subscribe scientific journals."


Debomoy K. Lahiri
(Indiana University School of Medicine, USA)

"Open access journals represent a major break-through in publishing. They provide easy access to the latest research on a wide variety of issues. Relevant and timely articles are made available in a fraction of the time taken by more conventional publishers. Articles are of uniformly high quality and written by the world's leading authorities."


Robert Looney
(Naval Postgraduate School, USA)

"Open access journals have transformed the way scientific data is published and disseminated: particularly, whilst ensuring a high quality standard and transparency in the editorial process, they have increased the access to the scientific literature by those researchers that have limited library support or that are working on small budgets."


Richard Reithinger
(Westat, USA)

"Not only do open access journals greatly improve the access to high quality information for scientists in the developing world, it also provides extra exposure for our papers."


J. Ferwerda
(University of Oxford, UK)

"Open Access 'Chemistry' Journals allow the dissemination of knowledge at your finger tips without paying for the scientific content."


Sean L. Kitson
(Almac Sciences, Northern Ireland)

"In principle, all scientific journals should have open access, as should be science itself. Open access journals are very helpful for students, researchers and the general public including people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals. The articles are high standard and cover a wide area."


Hubert Wolterbeek
(Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)

"The widest possible diffusion of information is critical for the advancement of science. In this perspective, open access journals are instrumental in fostering researches and achievements."


Alessandro Laviano
(Sapienza - University of Rome, Italy)

"Open access journals are very useful for all scientists as they can have quick information in the different fields of science."


Philippe Hernigou
(Paris University, France)

"There are many scientists who can not afford the rather expensive subscriptions to scientific journals. Open access journals offer a good alternative for free access to good quality scientific information."


Fidel Toldrá
(Instituto de Agroquimica y Tecnologia de Alimentos, Spain)

"Open access journals have become a fundamental tool for students, researchers, patients and the general public. Many people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals benefit of them on a daily basis. The articles are among the best and cover most scientific areas."


M. Bendandi
(University Clinic of Navarre, Spain)

"These journals provide researchers with a platform for rapid, open access scientific communication. The articles are of high quality and broad scope."


Peter Chiba
(University of Vienna, Austria)

"Open access journals are probably one of the most important contributions to promote and diffuse science worldwide."


Jaime Sampaio
(University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal)

"Open access journals make up a new and rather revolutionary way to scientific publication. This option opens several quite interesting possibilities to disseminate openly and freely new knowledge and even to facilitate interpersonal communication among scientists."


Eduardo A. Castro
(INIFTA, Argentina)

"Open access journals are freely available online throughout the world, for you to read, download, copy, distribute, and use. The articles published in the open access journals are high quality and cover a wide range of fields."


Kenji Hashimoto
(Chiba University, Japan)

"Open Access journals offer an innovative and efficient way of publication for academics and professionals in a wide range of disciplines. The papers published are of high quality after rigorous peer review and they are Indexed in: major international databases. I read Open Access journals to keep abreast of the recent development in my field of study."


Daniel Shek
(Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

"It is a modern trend for publishers to establish open access journals. Researchers, faculty members, and students will be greatly benefited by the new journals of Bentham Science Publishers Ltd. in this category."


Jih Ru Hwu
(National Central University, Taiwan)


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