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Healthcare In South Africa Essay

3493 words - 14 pages

Global Health has evolved over time in response to inequities resulting from racial, ethnic, economic, and other disparities among the world’s population. The World Health Organization and other global health response organizations, as well as individual governments define and gather relevant statistics that can assess a nations overall health status as compared to that of other nations. In doing so, the comparisons identify countries with high levels of negative health outcomes, how well they are being addressed, and what social, political, and economic factors contribute to such health disparities. South Africa is a nation that has complex health care needs and shortcomings even though it ...view middle of the document...

HIV remains prevalent in South Africa, with 5.6 million people currently infected. Players in the global health are consumed by and devote much of their resources to this one nation. Setting in place established indicators of health status as defined by such organizations, assessing the socio-economic trends over time, and comparing such findings to other countries and their respective health systems, provides a thorough picture as to the successes and shortcomings of a nation’s healthcare system. South Africa has fallen well short of both regional and global averages with respect to the prevalence and burden of
infectious diseases, particularly HIV and tuberculosis. Like the United States, South Africa is undergoing reform of its healthcare system with policy changes intended to create universal health insurance and access to care. And like the United States, whose health system has substantial issues despite having a resourceful economy, it is critical to set forth an aggressive system of oversight that improves the quality of care and health outcomes of its population, both rich and poor. Key indicators of health status and quality are assessed at both a macro and micro level. For this study, health status will be measured by looking at key data relative to demographics, current trends in health status, infectious and non-communicable diseases, and the behavioral, environmental and economic conditions that play a role.

II. Demographics and Socioeconomic Trends

Analyzing the demographics of a country provides tools that policy makers and organizations can use to implement programs where they are needed, and allocate resources according to demand. (see appendix A that lists demographic measures to indicate population fluctuations, changes in wealth distribution and educational attainment that can largely impact health status indicators) A comparison of data collected from 1990, 2000, and 2012, unless otherwise noted, show population and societal trends over time and their implications on future healthcare needs. 1990 is a reflection of the census of South Africa in the years preceding the apartheid movement. By 2000 we see the effects of the movement on healthcare outcomes, and 2011 figures present current trends that predict future changes relative to historical data. As the demographic table shows, the population of South Africa is increasing at a relative pace. More notable data is the percentage of the total current population living in urban areas has increased from 56.89% in 2000 to 61.99% in 2011. ("South Africa-demography data," 2014)
Infrastructure and health care personnel must be allocated to meet increased utilization of healthcare resources in cities, but also realize the vulnerability of rural areas that become less resourced as a result of the flow of capital to the urbanized areas. Age distribution ratio( see appendix B) indicates the burden of the working age population in supporting the dependent population...

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