A long and healthy life for South Africans

Update on progress and achievements in 2012/13

Interventions made by the Department of Health to improve the quality of life are yielding results the overall life expectancy of South Africans has improved significantly between 2009 and 2011 to 62 years.Testing

  • The tide is turning in the fight against HIV and AIDS. By March 2012, more than 20,2 million people had undergone testing since the HIV Counselling and Testing campaign started in April 2010.

  • In the fight against HIV and AIDS, the departments of science and technology, trade and industry, health, and economic development announced a joint initiative, known as Ketlaphela (meaning "I will be fine" in Setswana) with Swiss-based pharmaceutical company, Lonza. South Africa will build a R1,6 billion pharmaceutical plant to produce ingredients for antiretroviral medication. Ketlaphela, once it starts operating in 2016, is expected to significantly improve the secure supply of priority drugs, as well as to stabilise prices.

  • During 2012/13, the health sector succeeded in negotiating reductions in the price of medicines.

    The amounts saved were as follows:
    • R69 million on TB drugs
    • R169 million on antibiotics
    • R70 million on oncology medication
    • R69 million on injectables
    • R3 million on drops and inhalers
    • R105 million on tablets.

  • South Africa has discovered a candidate drug to treat malaria. It has the potential to become part of a single-dose cure for all strains of malaria and may be able to block transmission of the parasite. The drug will be developed further.

Source: Government's year of delivery 2012/2013 [PDF]

Government on health

Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan in his 2013/14 budget speech said the initial phase of NHI development will not place new revenue demands on the fiscus. Over the longer term, however, it is anticipated that a tax increase will be needed. The National Treasury is working with the Department of Health to examine the funding arrangements and system reforms required for NHI. A discussion paper inviting public comment on various options will be published this year.

Consolidated spending on health and social protection is R268 billion in 2013/14. Health infrastructure remains a priority. In 2012, a total of 1 967 health facilities and 49 nursing colleges were in different stages of planning, construction and refurbishment.

The National Development Plan 2030, released on 15 August 2012, proposes among others:

  • Broadening coverage of antiretroviral treatment to all HIV-positive people
  • Speeding up training of community specialists  in medicine, surgery including anaesthetics, obstetrics, paediatrics and psychiatry
  • Recruiting, training and deploying between 700 000 and 1.3 million community health workers to implement community-based healthcare
  • Setting minimum qualifications for hospital managers and ensuring that all managers have the necessary qualifications
  • Implementing national health insurance in a phased manner
  • Promoting active lifestyles and balanced diets and controlling alcohol abuse to reduce non-communicable diseases.

Government speeches, statements and documents

Programmes and initiatives supporting health

Government will improve healthcare by:

  • appointing appropriate and qualified heads of department, chief financial officers, hospital chief executive officers, district health officers and clinic managers
  • reviving 105 nursing colleges countrywide, to train more nurses
  • opening a medical faculty at the Limpopo Academic Hospital to train more doctors
  • renovating and upgrading hospitals and clinics
  • providing reproductive health rights and services that include contraception, sexually transmitted infections, teenage pregnancies and sanitary towels for the poor
  • continuing to implement programmes that promote various prevention measures, including medical male circumcision, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and the promotion of HIV testing.
  • The National Nursing Summit were used to critically reflect and discuss key issues affecting nurses and the nursing profession, within the context of South Africa’s disease burden, as well as the national and international health sector.
  • Human Papilloma Virus Vaccination Campaign
  • HIV and AIDS Counselling and Testing (HCT) Campaign.

National Health Insurance

Milestones for National Health Insurance:

It is seen as a 14-year project and the first five years will be a process of building and preparation. Dr Motsoaledi emphases that the cornerstone of the proposed system of NHI is universal coverage.

Delivery agreements

Cabinet resolved on 23 November 2011 that all government departments that are signatories to the Negotiated Service Delivery Agreement (NSDA) 2010-2014 continue to work together to address cross-cutting issues such as increasing life expectancy, combating HIV and AIDS and TB and improving maternal and child health. This must also extend to work involving nutrition and measures to reduce the incidence of underweight and stunted growth among children. Accurate measurement of these indicators will assist in tracking the extent to which health and socio-economic interventions are reaching the intended beneficiaries.

The health minister and MECs have signed performance agreements based on Outcome 2: A long and healthy life for all South Africans. These documents list standards against which performance are measured.

>> Delivery agreement for outcome 2: A long and healthy life for all South Africans

More information on health in South Africa

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