Health care system
Parents are usually instinctively aware of any of their children who are particularly vulnerable and if they are able to, take the time and trouble to give that child a bit of extra support and extra care. If we are to promote equity in our society we have to find ways of ensuring that our most vulnerable communities and individuals have access to more resources than those who are less needy. Only by doing so will the huge gaps between the haves and the have nots be lessened.
Since the first group of nurses was trained in clinical health assessment, treatment and care in 1982, South Africa has come a long way. Not only has the government policy declared nurses the backbone of the health care system in South Africa, but also there has been a major shift in health care from a mainly hospital based to a mainly primary health care focussed health care service.
This report documents the findings and conclusions of the first district expenditure review run for the Mt. Currie health district. The year under review is the government financial year, April 1997 to March 1998. Mt. Currie is a health district bordering on the Eastern Cape, in the southernmost part of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province. Its close proximity to the Eastern Cape border, and the regions geography, have meant that the main towns in the district, Kokstad and Matatiele, have for years acted as commercial centres for rural areas extending into the Eastern Cape, or what was formerly known as the Transkei. This fact, together with the history of the regions administration, means that the health services in the district are well frequented by residents of the Eastern Cape. These cross-border flows made it essential to calculate the district catchment population, which was estimated at 247 537 people in 1997/98.
A full range of health services are rendered in the district, including primary health care services, environmental health services, district hospital level services and laboratory services. A number of health services to the district are still run directly by the province, or the regional office. In addition, as in many districts, there are two main public sector authorities running health services namely local governments (municipalities) and the KZN provincial government. The two local authorities in the district are Matatiele and Kokstad.