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The Burden Imposed On The South African Health System

1990 words - 8 pages

The burden imposed on the South African Health System can be exponentially linked to the theme of social inequalities of health based upon race and class. These were implemented by the pre-1994 Apartheid government and its policies. The establishment of “4 independent homelands—Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei, and Venda—and 6 self-governing territories—Gazankulu, Kangwane, KwaNdebele, Kwazulu, Lebowa, and Qwaqu” with each of these having their own health departments, with an addition of the 400 local authorities own health departments. Consequentially the co-ordination and management of all these departments was poor and inefficient, leading to major differences and incongruences in the South African Health System and departments. Due to emphasis being placed on segregation, it is notable that in 1981 there was 1 doctor per 330 whites and 1 per 91000 Black populations. What this led to is a trend of (IMR) infant mortality rates ranging from 20% in the Black Population, comparing to a slight 2.7% amongst the White population and as we have studied, the IMR rates are key indicators of a countries health status. Furthermore life expectancy amongst the populations was as follows: 55 years for Blacks, 58 years for Coloreds, 65 years for Asians, and 70 years for the Whites. The incidence of non-communicable diseases such as: Tuberculosis (per 10000) was high amongst the black, Indian and Asian populations as comparable to the white population. Presently, 20 years after South Africa became a democratic country, we can deduce how the un-coordinated multiple Health systems and departments were combined into 9 Provincial Health Sectors. The independent homelands and self-governing territories are now included into ‘united’ South Africa. It is important to point out that, although incorporated into Democratic South Africa, these lands still stand among the least underserved, underdeveloped and resourced areas. Data revealed by a 2002 Afrobarometer: Round II Survey of South Africa pointed out that although South Africa has been democratic for 14 years at the time, there were still 40.8% of Blacks, 22.9% of Coloureds who still had no access to medical care in 2001, compared to 10.9% of Whites and 6.9% of the Asian population. It was further mentioned that disparities between populations were not only concentrated in health but in education, health infrastructure and income. The NHI policy included that the total South African population accounts for only 0.7% of the global population, but it carries 17% of the amount of people infected with HIV in the world which according to the policy amounts to 3 times the global average. Additionally, the TB and HIV/AIDS co-infection rates are amongst the highest in the world totaling 73% additional burden to the already burdened Health Care System. The policy further acknowledges the prevalence of non-communicable diseases including (“High blood pressure, diabetes, chronic diseases, chronic lung diseases, cancer and...

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