Tag: Health

Look after your mental health and encourage others to do the same

As Women’s Month officially kicks off tomorrow, August 1, the African Christian Democratic Party draws attention to mental illness, particularly depression.

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that “the recent passing of renowned University of Cape Town Professor Bongani Mayosi has afforded us, as South Africans, the opportunity to reflect, share, and help those close to us who may suffer from depression and other mental illness.”

According to the World Health Organisation, depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability across the globe.

Dudley says, “studies have shown that women are two times more likely to suffer from depression than men and about 20% of South Africans will experience a depressive disorder at least once in their lifetime.”

The ACDP would like to encourage all women and men to schedule checks with health professionals or to reach out to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) for assistance.

“We should all look after our mental health and encourage others to do the same. The brain is an organ that can react to a chemical imbalance in the body and the many other pressures in our lives can cause illness. Toughing it out only makes it worse and advice and medication are available. Depression is a treatable condition and between 80% and 90% of people have a good response to treatment. There are also many support groups out there where people can freely share their worries, fears and feelings with others who are in the same situation,” Dudley says.

For more information or assistance, call SADAG on 011 2626396 or 0800-567-567 or sms 31393. SADAG is open 7 days a week from 8am – 8pm. SADAG website: www.sadag.co.za

31 July 2018

ACDP says failure in governance of medical schemes a major concern

Responding to Private Health Scheme Inquiry Recommendations released on Friday last week, ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that “the ACDP is urging that the recommendations are urgently considered and adopted. We also call on medical schemes not to take a partial approach to the implementation of the recommendations as it would likely only compound existing market failures”.

The Competition Commission conducted an inquiry into the sector after observing increases in prices in the private healthcare sector of which only a minority of medical aid scheme members could afford. Investigators stated that the interventions proposed are closely interrelated and recommended that they be adopted as a whole.

In the interests of benefit to consumers and the long-term sustainability of the market, the ACDP wants to see change in the medical insurance sectors’ approach.  Dudley said that “it appears that medical schemes are clearly making a profit by increasing member fees while benefit packages cover less. Schemes show little evidence of efforts to design and implement alternative models to contain expenditure and provide value for money and fairer cover.”

Discovery Health, the largest scheme, shows growth and success over time which is positive but excessive profits are an indication of market failure, with no signs that the market will self-correct.

Dudley pointed out that what the investigators refer to as a profound lack of transparency – including on scheme options and quality of outcomes – means “consumers simply do not know what they are purchasing and cannot hold funders accountable. Therefore, they resort to choosing only what they think they can afford and are not in any way suitably or adequately covered.”

The report says trustees of schemes should be interceding on behalf of members to ensure that they receive value for money and found a lack of accountability of schemes to members. “There are too few incentives to ensure that scheme employees, trustees and principal officers always act in the best interest of consumers”, Dudley said.

“The ‘separation’ between schemes and administrators is apparently often artificial, particularly in the case of large open schemes. This failure in governance is a major concern.  Just as the fact that not-for-profit-schemes are administered by for-profit administrators and the for-profit administrators are dominant while scheme members and trustees are disempowered and unable to force administrators to align schemes to members’ interests even if they wanted to.”

The ACDP agrees with the inquiries recommendations that, “the performance of schemes must be measured in terms of the value delivered to members and remuneration packages of employees — particularly that of trustees and principal officers should be linked to that performance and capped”.

12 July 2018

Statement on the acceptance by the PC on Health that the CTOP Amendment Bill is not desirable at this stage

“On behalf of the ACDP I would like to thank the Health Portfolio Committee for considering the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill concerning a topic which is clearly difficult and unpleasant for many of you. I assure you we share similar sentiments and feel your pain. 

I would especially like to thank those members who felt they would have liked the committee to apply their minds further with a view to addressing what could feasibly have been addressed such as terminating viable babies in the third trimester simply because there is a risk of injury. We accept, however, the committee’s decision recognising that, “at this stage,”  the bill is not desirable.

As this is a subject of great public interest and a precedent has been set in this regard, I would like to request that the Motion of Desirability be debated in the House. Being able to openly discuss these painful issues helps all South Africans feel they are part of nation-building and not marginalised or ignored.

To my constituents, I promise that if I am back in Parliament after the 2019 election, I will continue these efforts to better protect moms and their babies in times of crisis.  We continue to learn much, we have touched hearts and given many who are defensive greater confidence to apply their minds: not close them. The media have bravely aired the issue and a more positive country debate has been started. I am grateful to God for this opportunity and to once again see his hand in all we do. Thank you Jesus.”

READ: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health on the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill [B34-2017] dated 9 May 2018

9 May 2018


HPCSA must not prejudice young aspiring doctors

The ACDP appeals to Health Minister to urgently ensure that the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is not allowed to prejudice young and aspiring doctors.

It is important to note that we are talking about South African students, who choose to study abroad, often because quotas in South Africa do not allow for high achieving students to get into Universities in South Africa to study the profession of their choice. These are not foreign students, they are South Africans.

The ACDP welcomes this opportunity to highlight the inefficiency of the HPCSA which is resulting in unethical consequences and the ACDP is appealing to the Minister of Health to urgently ensure the HPCSA is not allowed to prejudice young and aspiring doctors in this manner especially in our country that faces a dire shortage of doctors. This is a legal issue but it is also a human rights issue on many levels affecting service delivery in all communities.

An appeal was served in the High Court, Gauteng Division, on the 2 March 2018 as the HPCSA does not provide a tribunal or internal resolution process for lay foreign graduates. This is shocking when millions of people have little or no access to the High Courts of South Africa due to exorbitant costs.

The legal argument is that the HPCSA and their examination committee are applying the wrong regulation in using section 4 against students with foreign qualifications. Section 2 governs the students with foreign qualifications as they are categorised under interns.

Section 4 governs the registration of foreign qualified doctors to be admitted as general practitioners or specialists. The use of the wrong section is causing concern and great anxiety for students with foreign qualifications in South Africa and overseas and is forcing our young graduates to abandon their calling to the people of South Africa and having to use their medical training in other countries. The HPCSA is confusing students with foreign qualifications – with foreign qualified doctors applying for registration.

The ACDP, on behalf of affected and future students, is calling:

  • on the Minister of Health to ensure these discriminatory practices within the HPCSA affecting medical graduates stop;
  • for the establishment of an independent commission to investigate the discriminatory practices of the HPCSA and their examination committees for an investigation into the placement of foreign qualified graduates by the Department of Health in respect of internships and the prolonged administrative delays; and
  • for a review of regulations and a possible capping of the number of students going to study abroad so that proper mechanisms like sitting exams and adequate budgets are put in place;

The ACDP is calling:

  • for diplomatic ties to be forged with BRICS partners for
    discounting of fees and setting up hostels for South African students who have been bypassed by the Quota system of our education system of South Africa and to assist medical graduates in doing electives and clinical services in our training hospitals;
  • for a review of the present situation in which a shortage of doctors exists and yet qualified doctors and doctors in waiting remain unemployed; and
  • for budgets to be made available for private medical colleges to accommodate the brilliant graduates who are rejected by the present education department that works on the quota system.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: “The plight of foreign qualified medical students who find themselves ineligible to sit for the Health Professions Council of SA board exams because of section 4 regulation contained in the Health Professions Act”
13 March 2018