Healthcare Problems in South Africa


Diversity is a vital piece of South Africa and also the key reason I chose this country. This is because South Africa recognizes 11 languages as formal. Public administration in South Africa includes Jewish priests, tribal chiefs, rugby athletes and returned deportees. Conventional healers pursue their trade in places close to securities brokers and real estate ranges from mud huts to luxury houses with large swimming pools.

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South Africa rests at the southern tip of the continent of Africa (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). The topographical coordinates of South Africa are 29 00 S, 24 00 E. The total area of South Africa is 1,219,090 square kilometers on land and 4,620 square kilometers of water. The directly neighboring countries for South Africa are Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). South Africa’s coastline stretches for 2,798 kilometers. The climate in South Africa is semiarid and subtropical alongside the east coast. The daylight hours are sunny, and nights are fairly cold (SAinfo, 2012). The immense interior highland in South Africa is full of jagged hills and narrow coastal savannahs. Natural raw materials found in South Africa range from gold and chromium to diamonds uranium (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). An estimated 9.87% of South Africa’s land is fertile. Natural calamities that hit South Africa include lengthy droughts and high volcanic activity. For instance, the volcano that made Marion Island flared up in 2004. An existing issue facing South Africa’s environment is the lack of crucial sources of clean water. As a result, South Africans need widespread water preservation and control procedures.


As of July 2013, South Africa recorded an estimated population of 48,601,098 (SAinfo, 2012). It is worth mentioning that population approximations for South Africa directly consider the impacts of excess child and adult mortality rates. This is because of HIV/AIDS (SAinfo, 2012). As a result, lower life expectancy leads to higher infant mortality, high death rates, decreased population growth rates, and more alternations in the dispersal of the population by gender and age than normal. Johannesburg has a population of 3.607 million. Cape Town has 3.353 million people and the capital city, Pretoria, recorded a population of 1.404 million in January 2013 (SAinfo, 2012).

Africans make up the majority of South Africa’s population, which is 79.2%. The colored and white communities each make up 8.9% of the general population.

The African population comprises of four wide groups; the Nguni, the Sotho-Tswana, the Tsonga, and the Venda. The White community in South Africa comprises of Afrikaners, English natives, and a combination of settlers and their descendants. Afrikaners are largely descendants of Dutch, German, and French, Huguenot. English natives are descendants of settlers from the British Isles (SAinfo, 2012). The colored community in South Africa comprise of varied heredity derived from slaves shipped to the country from east and central Africa, the native Khoisan who thrived in the Cape during the era, native Africans, as well as Whites. A majority of colored people in South Africa speak Afrikaans (SAinfo, 2012). A huge part of the Asian population in South Africa has ancestry from India. A lot of the Asians in South Africa descend from indentured employees shipped to toil in sugar estates of the then Natal.


South Africa’s government is a constitutional and parliamentary democracy (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). The legislative capital of South Africa in Cape Town and the judicial capital is Bloemfontein. Governmental divisions in South Africa comprise of nine provinces. South Africa achieved independence on May 21, 1910, from Britain. South Africa declared itself a republic in May 1961. The executive arm of South Africa’s government comprises of the chief of state, or president, the deputy vice president, and the cabinet. The legislative arm of government in South Africa consists of a two-tier parliament, which comprises of the National Council of Provinces, and the National Assembly (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). The judicial arm of the government consists of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Constitutional Court. These two courts are the highest courts in the country.


South Africa is the leading economy in the continent of Africa. However, South Africa’s economy underwent a financial meltdown in May 2009 after a severe slowdown in the mining and manufacturing industries. On the other hand, the construction industry profited from a large agenda of government venture ahead of the 2010 world cup (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). South Africa is also part of the BRICS association of emerging global economic powerhouses. South Africa is a middle class, an emerging powerhouse with a rich supply of raw materials. South Africa also has well-built monetary, legal, and energy industries (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013).

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South Africa’s infrastructure is also rich and well-developed. South Africa’s stock exchange is the 15th biggest across the globe. Despite the widespread modern infrastructure in South Africa, some elements of the country slow down the economy’s expansion (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). The modern infrastructure in South Africa supports a comparatively effective allocation of commodities to the chief urban centers all across the region. South Africa’s economy started slow the third and fourth quarter of 2007 because of a power crisis (Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, and Lal, 2005, p. 512). The current government encounters expanding stress from interest groups towards utilizing state-owned businesses (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013).

State of Health

The state of health in South Africa differs from the most fundamental primary healthcare, provided for free by the government, to the highly professional and technologically advanced health facilities (SAinfo, 2012). Both health services are accessible to both the public and private segments. South Africa’s public segment stresses over under-resourced facilities in some places. While the state adds nearly 40% of all expenses on health, the public sector for healthcare stresses to provide services to nearly 80% of the population (SAinfo, 2012). Majority of finances for the healthcare sector originate from South Africa’s National Treasury. Extreme rates of poverty and joblessness imply that the state of health in South Africa mostly remains a governmental problem.

South Africa’s Department of Health is responsible for healthcare with a precise focus on the public sector (SAinfo, 2012). South Africa’s budget allocates R121 billion to the health sector. A lot of South African citizens remain poor, and the joblessness rate is still soaring. The high rate of joblessness is an element accountable for a wave of violent assaults against migrant employees from other African nations in 2008 (SAinfo, 2012). Demonstrations by residents from urban centers regarding poor standards of living also revolved around the aspect of high employment in the country.

Culture/Traditional Medicine

South Africa has 4,200 public healthcare amenities, each with an admission rate of 13,718 people per hospital. This figure surpasses the standards of the World Health Organization, which permits a figure of 10,000 people per clinic only (World Health Organization, 2013). Statistics from March 2009 indicate that people have an average of 2.5 visits to public health facilities in South Africa. The functional bed utility rates range from 65% and 77% at South African clinics. An approximated 80% of South African citizens refer to traditional doctors together with the common clinical and professional practitioner (World Health Organization, 2013). According to the Medical Research Council (MRC), it was necessary to establish a traditional medications study unit in 1997 and bring in contemporary research techniques across the usage of conventional medications (SAinfo, 2012). The same research unit also intends to come up with a set of copyrights for encouraging new bodies attained from remedial plants.

Healthcare system and Delivery

South Africa has provincial health units that give and oversee thorough health amenities through a district-centered public healthcare paradigm (World Health Organization, 2013). Domestic hospital administration gives authority over working problems like the budget and human resources. This authority fosters faster reactions to domestic needs. Public health uses up nearly 11% of the state’s entire budget. South Africa allocates this amount of money to nine provinces that spend them on healthcare amenities. The explicit distribution and level of healthcare delivered to the healthcare facilities differ with the province. South Africa developed the Health Charter to make a platform for the involvement between industries to deal with problems, capital, and quality of health amenities. Issues of wide-based African economic enablement and employment equity also appear in South Africa’s Health Charter. South Africa has over 110 registered clinical projects, with nearly 4 million primary members and 8 million supporters.

Health Priorities

The following is a list of health priorities for South Africa.

  • Make sure health institutions adhere to minimum requirements through an independent body (SAinfo, 2012).
  • Make medicine more affordable than it is currently and offering transparency in the valuing of drugs (World Health Organization, 2013).
  • Controlling the clinical projects sector to hinder it from discerning against high-risk persons like the old and sick (SAinfo, 2012).
  • Legally allow abortion and permit the safe right to use to it in both public and private clinical facilities (SAinfo, 2012).
  • Restrict cigarette smoking in public areas and increase public knowledge about the health hazards of smoking cigarettes. This initiative also seeks to ban the sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 (World Health Organization, 2013).

Nursing Implications

The nursing profession and nurses working in South Africa can play a significant part in handling the nation’s priorities in several ways. Firstly, the nursing bodies of South Africa can begin certifying ARV usage in all healthcare facilities across the nation (South African Nursing Council, 2012). South Africa has the biggest ARV treatment project across the globe, and a better purchasing procedure has observed a 50% decrement in the costs of ARV medicine. Secondly, Nurses in South Africa can create local nursing codes that all medical facilities in the country can follow (South African Nursing Council, 2012). An improved and comprehensive nursing code will enhance healthcare service by aiding the Revenue Collection Section in pinpointing the payment for a service. The code will also aid in producing the receipt for the payment automatically.

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Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). (2013). The World Fact Book: South Africa. Web.

Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, B., and Lal, K. (2005). Internet diffusion in sub-Saharan Africa: A cross-country analysis. Telecommunications Policy, 29(7), 507–527. Web.

SAinfo. (2012). Health care in South Africa. Web.

SAinfo. (2012). South Africa’s population. Web.

South African Nursing Council. (2012). Policies and position papers of South African Nursing Council. Web.

World Health Organization (WHO). (2013). South Africa – World Health Organization. Web.

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