Public engagement

PRICELESS SA engages with policymakers, the public and the media to strengthen insight and expertise for setting priorities for South African health.
Public engagement

The introduction of National Health Insurance in South Africa presents policymakers with substantial challenges. Priorities must be set that reflect South Africa’s health needs, economic resources and societal values. Public participation processes need to be deliberative and enable ordinary citizens to take part meaningfully in the difficult choices government has to make about funding public services. We need to build capacity among South Africans for such participation, enhancing their understanding of resource allocation and the need for trade-offs. PRICELESS SA is developing robust methods and innovative tools to increase public engagement in decisions around health policies and how health expenditure is prioritised.

Along with economic analysis, public participation in prioritisation will be critical to the success of the NHI.

To ensure that our research is used to best effect, PRICELESS SA writes up important pieces of research in plain language so that policymakers and non-scientists can understand the research and its implications.

Key channels for public engagement

  • Meetings and discussions with policymakers
  • Opinion pieces in the news media
  • Articles in “The Conversation”
  • Interviews with the media
  • Public meetings
  • Public lectures
  • Informational support for communication organisations such as HEALA

CHAT tool

CHAT stands for Choosing Healthplans All Together. Developed by the University of Michigan and the US National Institute of Health, CHAT is a deliberative public engagement method in healthcare priority-setting. It helps groups set priorities – or make trade-offs – when they can't choose everything. The simple tool is set out like a game and has been successfully modified to be context-specific, such as for a rural village in India. PRICELESS is modifying the CHAT tool for South Africa.

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