South Africa has the resources and financial muscle to make universal health coverage a reality.
This is according to The Elders, who briefed Members of Parliament on Tuesday.
The Elders delegation was led by the former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland and the former President of Chile Ricardo Lagos.
Brundtland said there were a number of examples of countries in a similar position as South Africa who have successfully implemented universal health coverage.
Brundtland is a former director-general of the World Health Organisation and has experience in public healthcare reforms.
The Elders met with lawmakers before another planned meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa where they are expected to continue the healthcare discussion.
Brundtland said: “But there are also other examples even more recent, with regard to you carrying out more of those reforms with countries that have the same economic development as South Africa, like Thailand. We have visited Thailand and looked at their system.”
She called on the South African government to prioritise universal healthcare as this had a direct link to a country’s economic development.
“It’s a fact that investing in health creates economic growth. This is not just a statement you can say as a politician. We have a lot of evidence of scientific analysis that this is the case.”