The world, and our country, continues to experience the phases and waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is not one family that has not been affected, infected or, at worst, experienced the loss of a loved one. We convey our deepest sympathies and sincerest condolences to our members in this regard.
Our country is now in the anguish of the third and most aggressive wave of infections, accompanied by a second variant, the Delta variant – which is said to be more infectious than the last variants experienced. After having relaxed the lockdown levels, the President recently announced a return to a more stringent Alert Level 4 lockdown. This is an indication that the South African fight with the virus is far from over. Although most first-world countries seem to be managing the roll out process of the vaccines, some third-world countries are still battling to secure adequate doses to vaccinate their citizens.
Our Medical Aid was not spared the brunt of this pandemic, especially in the industries that our medical aid serves, such as the Building, Construction, and Mining Industries. We have continued to witness several companies reduce their staff compliments through lay-offs, retrenchments, and temporary unpaid leave; due to the reduced or halted projects and sluggish economic recovery in these industries.
The pandemic has brought processes and projects to a halt that BCIMA had set out to complete. We were in the middle of implementing a 5-year strategy when we had to cease the project abruptly and switch gears. Since then, we have had to navigate unchartered territory to instead focus on assisting and availing ourselves of the many challenges faced by members.
I commend the Board, who exercised excellent financial stewardship, ensuring that the scheme remained financially stable and sound while keeping the plight of its members at the forefront of all decision making and ensuring that members are safeguarded and assisted during this time of need.
Moving forward, once the challenges of the pandemic are behind us, we will resume where we left off with our strategic intent, following the appointment of the new Principal Officer at the beginning of 2020. The scheme had embarked on a new strategy, underpinned by 4 pillars of Strategic challenges, which was identified at the time as:
• Sustainable membership growth
To grow the scheme membership numbers beyond the 6000 - mark required for the schemes to be self-standing beyond the launch of NHI.
• New products & service designs
To continuously innovate the benefits that BCIMA offers to remain competitive.
• National Health Insurance
To evaluate opportunities and threats that could arise as a result of the introduction of the NHI.
• Ability to execute
Driving a continuous growth agenda through commitment of human and financial resources, and improved marketing- and sales function.
Although the Health Care Industry is significantly challenged and stretched beyond capacity and capability worldwide, as a scheme we can safely say through the joint efforts of all our stakeholders that we have managed to maintain a strong and sustainable financial position for the scheme.
In conclusion, we urge our members to be vigilant and consistent in taking precautions and adhering to the regulations prescribed by our government, until their families are safe on the other side of this pandemic.
Chairman of the Board