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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.

Per capita spending at district level on Primary Health Care (PHC) ranges from R389 in richer districts to R42 in the poorest districts, meaning that many districts are simply not able to afford the PHC package estimated at approximately R220 per capita. Although spending on health in the public sector in 2005/6 is projected to increase by R 8.7 billion in real terms over a decade, much of the funding has been absorbed by HIV/AIDS, medical inflation and relatively higher salaries which has resulted in real expenditure per capita stagnating. On a positive note, 94% of pregnant women receive antenatal care and there has been an improvement in the quality and quantity of health related data for planning and policy formulation purposes.

These are some of the findings contained in the 9th South African Health Review (SAHR) released on Wednesday 28 July 2004 by the Health Systems Trust.

The Review sets out to provide a critical reflection on the progress towards making health services available to all South Africans over the past ten years and covers developments in the legislative arena over the past decade, trends in the well being of South Africans, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, cholera and broader health system issues such as human resources and financing.

This edition of the Review is anchored in a variety of data sources and is designed to provide a definitive set of information regarding health system issues in South Africa, said CEO of the Health Systems Trust, David Mametja.

Also launched together with the SAHR, was the National Primary Health Care Facilities Survey. In keeping with the data anchored focus of the Review, The Facilities Survey describes the status of the countrys PHC services through a variety of indicators. Indicators include availability of essential equipment, immunisation service provision, and response time of emergency medical transport. This is the fourth such survey conducted by the Health Systems Trust. Key indicators suggest that the commissioning of new PHC facilities is likely to have improved access to PHC services for many South Africans. However, the Survey also shows that substantial inter-provincial inequities continue to exist.

The two latest publications of the Health Systems Trust show that over the last ten years there have been both substantial gains and some reversals in the health status of the country and in the quality and availability of services provided by the public health sector. In anticipating the difficult road that lies ahead, let us not forget how far weve come. said Mametja.

For more information contact: Ashnie Padarath: 031-3072954 or 083 314 5191,