SA's crippled public health sector takes spotlight ahead of elections

SA's crippled public health sector takes spotlight ahead of elections

South Africa's public health system is in a dire crisis despite promises of a modern, functional sector 25 years ago when democracy was born. The situation has taken center stage as political parties campaign for dominance ahead of next weeks election.

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When the ANC came into power in 1994 it had vowed to ensure South Africans have access to basic medical treatments and the grim conditions in the countries public health is a far cry from that ideal.

The ruling party plans to combat the shortfall with the National Health Insurance system, similar to what many Western countries rely on but the Democratic Alliance has condemned the 'unfeasible' plan.

The opposition party feels that the proposed system has the potential to put the 'stability of the national fiscus at risk' reports Eyewitness News.

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Instead the DA plans to work with private healthcare insurance companies in order to extend coverage to more than 50% of South Africans.

In the meantime, the sector has been hit with budget cuts. At one hospital alone there are more than 60 positions open for doctors and 300 for nurses leaving the facility under-staffed and unable to function as it should.

A doctor commented on the situation saying that five hospitals had been promised in Soweto alone but only one has been built doing little to ease the strain.

Kerrin Begg, senior lecturer and public health expert, says the system has been crippled by poor leadership at all levels:

"It will need to be strengthened substantially, especially in terms of physical infrastructure and human resources."

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