This podcast comes at a time when a National Health Insurance Policy has been proposed by the state amid the failure of health service delivery to meet demands placed on it.
Our country’s women carry a very high burden of disease testified by the relentless rise in the rate of maternal mortality (and the probable failure of South Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goal target on maternal health). The centrality of women to the crisis in health is hard to ignore: women also bear the brunt of inadequate health service provision, nationally, as social norms dictate that they should ‘naturally’ be the caretakers and nurturers who are responsible for the health in the household and often communities. If we are optimistic we might believe that the complete transformation of the health platform and the redistribution of available health resources proposed could achieve the sorely needed improvement in women’s health care delivery.
However, as feminists we would be guilty of self-delusion if we believe this is possible without interrogation, critique and consultation among ourselves on the new NHI’s impact on women, as the policy is neither gender neutral, nor does it provide guarantees that women’s gender-specific concerns will be respected and implemented.