South Africa's national health plans approved
South Africa has approved plans for a national health insurance scheme to generate billions of rand in funding for the public medical system.
The scheme will be rolled out over a 14 year period and aims to provide much-needed cash to bridge the gap between expensive private health care and already stretched public facilities.
"These first steps towards establishing National Health Insurance or NHI are truly historic," Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.
"We are building a health system that will offer decent health care for all our people. It's the right that large numbers of South Africans, over many generations, have never known.
"This is seen as a 14-year-project and the first five years will be a process of building and preparation," he added.
The scheme was approved by Cabinet on Wednesday and will be piloted in 10 areas next year. At present, eight out of 10 citizens depend on public facilities.
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Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress said last year that the fund would cost R128 billion in 2012, rising to R267bn in 2020.
The state of South Africa’s health system has been a major issue for many decades, with quality care often only being administered in the private sector due to 84 percent of the population relying on public care.
According to the national statistics agency, only 10.3 percent of black people have access to private care, while this figure rises to almost 71 percent for the white community.
The new NHI will be funded through a combination of sources, including tax revenue, compulsory employer contributions, payments from individuals for services not covered by the scheme and potential partnerships with the private sector, according to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
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5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.