Anban Pillay, the health ministry’s deputy director-general for national health insurance said the South African government has reached agreement to severely ill Covid-19 patients on a daily fee of up to R16,000 (about $1,000).
This is a contingency plan ahead of a probable scenario where public hospitals run out of critical care beds. The government has been consulting with medical experts for months for a possible proactive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 and care for the patients.
The fee includes the cost of using the bed, paying a team of specialists to treat the patient and additional services including pathology and radiology.
Health departments in the country’s nine provinces will sign “service-level” agreements to forge ahead on the arrangement.
The number of critical beds available in the country varies but a ministry presentation in April put the total at around 3,300, with two-thirds of those in the private sector. Netcare theorises 6,000 beds, with around 3,800 in private hospitals.
South Africa is the most hit in Africa by Covid-19 – 952 deaths from 45, 973 infections and 24,258 recoveries.