Health and Health Care in South Africa — 20 Years after Mandela

In the 20 years since South Africa underwent a peaceful transition from apartheid to a constitutional democracy, considerable social progress has been made toward reversing the discriminatory practices that pervaded all aspects of life before 1994. Yet the health and well-being of most South Africans remain plagued by a relentless burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases, persisting social disparities, and inadequate human resources to provide care for a growing population with a rising tide of refugees and economic migrants. Appropriate responses to South African health care challenges would be to address the social determinants of health (which lie outside the health system) as a national priority, strengthen the health care system, and facilitate universal coverage for health care.

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