Health in South Africa: changes and challenges since 2009

Published by: 
The Lancet

Since the 2009 Lancet Health in South Africa Series, important changes have occurred in the country, resulting in an
increase in life expectancy to 60 years. Historical injustices together with the disastrous health policies of the previous
administration are being transformed. The change in leadership of the Ministry of Health has been key, but new
momentum is inhibited by stasis within the health management bureaucracy. Specific policy and programme changes
are evident for all four of the so-called colliding epidemics: HIV and tuberculosis; chronic illness and mental health;
injury and violence; and maternal, neonatal, and child health. South Africa now has the world’s largest programme of

Department of Health Budget Vote Speech 2012/12: National Assembly, Cape Town

Published by: 
Department of Health (South Africa)

Honourable Chairperson

Ministers present here today

My Colleague Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa

MEC’s of Health from various Provinces

Honourable Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Dr Monwabisi

Goqwana and Members of your Committee

Honourable members of the House

Director –General of Health Ms Precious Matsoso

Your excellencies, High Commissioners and Ambassodors

Leaders of various statutory bodies, Health Unions and other Health related Organisations

Our Special guest the Rollback Malaria and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and UN Envoy for Africa, Ms Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Chronic disease and trauma plague SA health system

HIV may be the most immediate threat to healthcare in the country but health data gathered from hospitals around the country shows that violence and lifestyle diseases are taking a grievous toll on the health system.

The District Health Barometer, released in Pretoria on Thursday alongside the latest edition of the South African Health Review, showed that outside of HIV/Aids and opportunistic infections associated with it, such as tuberculosis (TB), pneumonia and diarrhoeal disease, the leading cause of premature death in the country is transport injury.

South Africa: Failing Maternity Care

(Johannesburg)  – A lack of oversight and accountability for recurrent problems in the health system and abuses committed by health personnel contributes to South Africa’s substandard maternity care and undermines one of its top health goals: to reduce its high maternal death rate, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. South Africa’s maternal mortality ratio has more than quadrupled over the past decade, making accountability structures to improve oversight and correct health system deficiencies all the more critical, Human Rights Watch said.

Zimbabwe: Mobilise Sufficient Resources for Reproductive Health, States Urged

AFRICAN Governments need to mobilise sufficient resources if people's reproductive health requirements are to be met, a Population Report has said. The report, published by the Info Project, Centre for Communication Programmes at the John Hopkins Bloom-berg School of Public Health in America said the burden of injury and infectious diseases made the situation in Africa worse as healthcare systems were already struggling to meet people's needs.

South Africa: Health and safety of municipal workers neglected

Employers abuse and neglect the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) of health workers in Municipal Clinics around the country, according to research recently released by the Municipal Services Project (MSP), the Industrial Health Research Group (IHRG) and the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU).

Press Release: South African Health Review 2003/04 and National Primary Health Care Facilities Survey

The health of the nation is characterised by a quadruple burden of disease, with the impact of HIV/AIDS adding to the combination of a high injury burden, conditions related to underdevelopment and chronic diseases.

Cabinet unveils antiretrovirals plan

THE cabinet gave the strongest indication to date yesterday that it is planning to widen access to antiretroviral medicines in the public sector, announcing that treasury and health department officials are working on the cost implications of providing the AIDS drugs. In April the cabinet announced a dramatic about-turn on government's controversial views on antiretrovirals when it acknowledged for the first time that the drugs could help improve the condition of people living with AIDS if administered correctly. It also announced at the time that the medicines would be made available in public health facilities to victims of sexual assault and occupational injury. Since a Constitutional Court ruling on the matter three months ago, government has also begun to expand the provision of Nevirapine, the anti-HIV drug that reduces the risk of mother-to-child transmission of the deadly disease. The cabinet said after the meeting that it was actively engaged in creating the conditions that would make it feasible and effective to provide antiretroviral medicines in public hospitals and clinics. We are therefore working to lower the costs of these drugs, at present too costly for universal access, and to strengthen the health system and intensify patient education to ensure that the drugs are not used incorrectly in ways that can cause harm, it said. The statement spelt out various government initiatives intended to facilitate provision of antiretroviral medicines. In addition to the technical task team of treasury and health department officials, which is working on the cost implications of an expanded response to the effect of HIV/AIDS on all sectors of society, government also appears to be considering legislative changes to facilitate access to cheap generic AIDS drugs. Recent research by the activist organisation the Treatment Action Campaign and the Centre for Actuarial Research at the University of Cape Town showed that branded antiretroviral drugs in the private sector can cost up to 10 times more than generic versions. The cabinet also said that government was running programmes in conjunction with academic institutions to train doctors and nurses in HIV/AIDS care. Government is also planning to engage the private sector, by urgently researching its experience in treating HIV/AIDS. According to a cabinet statement, a national policy on testing for HIV, which is to be incorporated into the National Health Act, will be tabled in Parliament before the end of the year. Tamar Kahn and Pule Molebeledi: Business Day, 10 October 2002

Agreement on needle prick injuries

Public sector health workers exposed to the HIVirus by accidental needlepricks are now guaranteed the right to state-sponsored tests and medication in terms of an agreement signed between the employer and labour unions this week. The Public Servants Association on Friday said he agreement would help save the lives of healthcare workers.