Healthcare System in South Africa Healthcare Policy Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Healthcare System in South Africa

Healthcare policy

Influences on public health outcomes

Critical analysis of the pressures on the health care delivery

It is observed that there are numerous cultures, societies, political systems in the world. The governments regulate the social systems according to the political, cultural, and economic condition of a country. The structure of healthcare systems is also an extension of the country's political system. It is observed that the characteristics of each society and culture are major factors defining the healthcare system followed in a country. There are multiple models available in the world for healthcare systems. All have their own advantages and disadvantages for societies living in respective countries. An example can be quoted that United Sates healthcare system is different from most followed system in European countries. Similarly the systems followed in other parts of the world are also significantly different including Asia, Africa, and Middle East. These differences can also be investigated in terms of the economic, political, and social differences present among various countries. The culture of a country is also a notable factor in defining the basic organizations of a healthcare system. The countries have a distinct healthcare system which ranges from developed countries e.g. United States, Scandinavian region to the developing countries e.g. Thailand, South Africa, and under developed regions e.g. Ghana and Bangladesh (Matcha 2003).

Furthermore the differences among industrialized, developed, developing, and under developed nations exist in relation to the healthcare systems. These differences are also fueled through a divide in economic conditions to a large extant. A country facing challenges on economic fronts struggle to provide adequate healthcare support for their citizens. The healthcare systems followed throughout the world can be categorized as primary, seconder, and tertiary. The purpose of the division is based on defining the structure, management, organization, resources, and delivery of the healthcare to citizens of the country. According to Matcha (2003) Roemer healthcare model, Elling's conceptual healthcare system, multi-aid model, and corporatist model of healthcare are notable examples of practical approaches adopted by various countries.

Country Rational: South Africa:

The country selected is South Africa which is populated with 47 million inhabitants. The history of the country is full of wars, struggle for equality among various races, and sever healthcare crisis. The country has faced challenges with basic healthcare system. It has faced sever attacks of deadly diseases, virus, and poor health conditions due to lack of food and nutrients. The country is also a victim of HIV AIDS, malaria, and die-aria (Cooper, Moodley, Zweigenthal, Bekker, Shah & Myer2009). These issues have been attacking the population of the country at various times. The per capita in consumption rate of food is also a notable factor in creating all above mentioned issues of healthcare. The country has also been associated with increased crime rate along with low income for African communities. The country has also been a part of long British colonial rule (Clark 2009).

However today, the country can be classified as a contemporary model of racial reconciliation. The citizens of the country played a significant role in creating a harmonized society and elected democratic government has adopted policies for development and rehabilitation of economy. In the fields of healthcare the government faced multiple challenges. The healthcare system of the country was highly fragmented and poor conditions of hospitals also required major restructuring (Seekings&Nattrass2011). The healthcare system in South Africa can be characterized as divided and fragmented system. The system followed in the country is based on the hospital-based medicine healthcare system. The sector is also observed as overly invested with string traces of underdeveloped primary health care facilities. The large population of the country is still struggling to get appropriate health facilities (Karim & Karim 2010).

The system incorporates both public and private healthcare facilities. The public facilities are offered through government operating hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and basic healthcare units across the country. The private healthcare is operated by doctors, specialists, and physicians. The parallel operations of both systems have several advantages and shortcomings. It is also a threat for equitable healthcare for the populations. The rich can still gain access to the healthcare facilities through private hospitals offering a quality healthcare while charging heavy fees for providing facilities. The government operated hospitals are also operational while presence of numerous Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) is also operating various healthcare programs throughout the country creating a third dimension to the healthcare system (Zwegenthal, Reynolds, Coetzee, Duncan & Petersn 2009).

Report Literature Review:

Numerous countries are adopting the approach to decentralize their healthcare system. These approaches are adopted to effectively cater the needs of local communities. The management of the healthcare systems is given in the hands of communities and local administrations. The policy and local politics influences the structure and management of the healthcare system. It is an efficient approach to provide extensive healthcare facilities. The resources are also generated locally as well as central grants are also an integral part of the system. The decentralized approach is also vital in promoting local autonomy and wasting power to the communities at local levels (Johnson & Stoskopf 2010).

However it is observed that the local systems for healthcare also carry disadvantages. The decision making process at the local levels is not as effective as it is with the central system. The amount of information, capabilities, and resources at central levels are large as compared with the local systems. It is required to take a balanced approach towards systems (Johnson & Stoskopf 2010). It can be argued that an integrated system is beneficial in providing effective control as well as local delivery of healthcare facilities. It can be achieved that a central policy and strategic approach is adopted to be followed throughout the country. However the delivery system is developed at local levels and middle to front line decision making is dedicated to the local authorities.

Johnson et al. (2010) observed that in United States costs of healthcare systems are increasing in relation to the GDP. The percentage of healthcare cost in the country is reported as 16%. While other developed nations including United Kingdom, Denmark, and Germany are reportedly spending approximately 10% of their GDP for providing healthcare facilities to their citizens. Generally the healthcare spending increase in considered as a positive sign in case the economy of the country is growing and system is working appropriately. However the current conditions of global economy does not allow countries to increase their healthcare spending.

Analysis of healthcare system in South Africa:

South Africa is considered as a developing country. It has faced several challenges in the economic and political fields. The country is also part of the region where major causes of death are related to chronic diseases. Johnson & Stoskopf (2010) provides a detailed review of statistics in South Africa. It indicates a birth rate of 18.5 with a life expectancy for children at 49.0 / 52.5 as at year 2005. The country is also ranked 3rd in the World Bank aid program for healthcare. It is also notable that the country's doctors and physicians also left the country to practice abroad due to crumbling economic, political, and security situations. A number of countries are facilitated through the requirement programs of doctors and nurses of South African origin. It indicates that the health system has faced human resources challenges along with the economic conditions.

The country is running parallel healthcare systems and it is observed that public healthcare as well as private sector is also operating with in the country. The healthcare facilities offered by the government include hospitals and clinics providing citizens of the country. The services and medicine provided by the state operated healthcare system charge a minimal amount. The individuals face multiple difficulties during using this system. It is also observed that at times the facilities are not adequate to provide required treatment.

The second type of the system is denoted as private healthcare system. The doctors working in government hospitals as well as the physicians are also allowed to operate their own private practice. In the private clinics the specialists operate from private places as well as they utilize their own infrastructure. The patients visiting private clinics are charged with increased amounts as fees. Furthermore mostly high income group visits private health clinics. The divide in the healthcare system is inherited by the country.

Healthcare policy:

According to McCoy (2011) the democratic elections were held in the country in 1994 and a newly elected governement had multiple challenges in terms of restricting the country as well as creating an independent constitution. The state drafted an independent constitution defining the fundamental rights for its citizens. The healthcare policy is also derived from their constitution. It entitles the citizens to access a healthy environment and access to healthcare services. Furthermore the food deficiency is also addressed through the policy that adequate food will be provided to the citizens. The introduction of social security reforms were also notable advances for the country's healthcare system. The…

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