SAMED has closely followed the process of National Health Insurance (NHI) policy-making since the outset. This has entailed active engagement with and comments on the NHI Green and White papers, as well as the NHI Bill published earlier this year.

Led by its NHI committee, SAMED recommended changes regarding the procurement, reimbursement, use of medical technologies and access to innovation. Inputs concerning other critical elements, such as governance, accreditation, financing, the determination of the benefits packages and freedom of choice for both HCPs and patients.

To ensure that its positions are legally and technically sound, SAMED sought legal and expert counsel and participated in processes led by Business Unity SA (BUSA) and the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) to ensure multifaceted comment inclusions.

The interactions between the acting Director-General of Health, Dr Anban Pillay and SAMED members during our 2019 annual conference helped in the formulation of SAMED’s submission on the bill. This further informed the discussions with members to enable them to make their own submissions. Dr Nicholas Crisp also contributed to the conversations when he addressed a member meeting on 21 November.

The final submission, including a cover letter containing the key points as well as detailed, line-for-line commentary on the wording within the NHI Bill, was submitted to the Portfolio Committee. The journey, however, does not end here and SAMED remains committed to continued collaboration with the Department of Health, members and other relevant parties on NHI policy development and implementation.

This commitment was one of the key messages that the SAMED executive officer, Tanya Vogt, gave when she participated in a high-level dialogue held in Cape Town on 20 November. The event was organised by Wesgro Cape Town and Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment with assistance and participation by other parties including analysis, researchers and the Western Cape Minister of Health Nomafrench Mbombo.

SAMED supports universal health coverage and the provision of quality healthcare for all in South Africa – and innovative medical technology plays a vital role in improving health outcomes. So it is SAMED’s mission to ensure that universal healthcare takes account of the value of medtech, sustains our industry and opens further opportunity within the medtech field as a strategic pillar of South Africa’s social and economic advancement. In this way, SAMED continues to pursue its vision to build a sustainable medical technology industry that enhances patient access to innovative solutions.