The District Health Barometer (DHB) is a collection of health indicators which presents a snapshot of how well the health districts in South Africa provide primary health care to the population. These indicators do not provide any form of complex analysis or in-depth research, yet they point to districts that need improvement and support and likewise to those districts that are doing well. They show how districts are performing relative to one another and relative to their province and the national average.Using the District Health Barometer (DHB), comparisons can now be made between the six metropolitan districts, between the 13 rural node districts or between any districts that are of a similar socio-economic status and size.
This year's Review looks at issues related to transformation such as legislation and financing of health care, human resources, and support systems for health care delivery. Other key public health issues covered in the Review include HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis, malaria and nutrition. In addition the Review contains comprehensive information on key health and related indicators.
Among significant events that affected the health system during 2001 are the process of decentralisation of health services, greater attention to proper corporate governance especially with regard to financial reporting, and the increasingly profound impact of HIV/AIDS. Decentralisation of health care, the treasured policy goal of health services being managed by the sphere of government closest to the people, is, albeit slowly, becoming a reality to South Africans. The 2001 South African Health Review reflects on this process of transformation, including the necessary enabling legislation and funding of local government for health care delivery at this level.