Health Technology Assessment in Support of National Health Insurance in South Africa

By Maryke Wilkinson  Andrew Lofts Gray  Roger Wiseman  Tamara Kredo  Karen Cohen  Professor Jacqui Miot  Mark Blecher  Paul Ruff  Yasmina Johnson  Mladen Poluta  |  | 


South Africa has embarked on major health policy reform to deliver universal health coverage through the establishment of National Health Insurance (NHI). The aim is to improve access, remove financial barriers to care, and enhance care quality. Health technology assessment (HTA) is explicitly identified in the proposed NHI legislation and will have a prominent role in informing decisions about adoption and access to health interventions and technologies. The specific arrangements and approach to HTA in support of this legislation are yet to be determined. Although there is currently no formal national HTA institution in South Africa, there are several processes in both the public and private healthcare sectors that use elements of HTA to varying extents to inform access and resource allocation decisions. Institutions performing HTAs or related activities in South Africa include the National and Provincial Departments of Health, National Treasury, National Health Laboratory Service, Council for Medical Schemes, medical scheme administrators, managed care organizations, academic or research institutions, clinical societies and associations, pharmaceutical and devices companies, private consultancies, and private sector hospital groups. Existing fragmented HTA processes should coordinate and conform to a standardized, fit-for-purpose process and structure that can usefully inform priority setting under NHI and for other decision makers. This transformation will require comprehensive and inclusive planning with dedicated funding and regulation, and provision of strong oversight mechanisms and leadership.

Publication details

International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care