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Health care in South Africa


Wondering how to access to health care services in South Africa? We are providing you with an overview of the health care system in this article.

When relocating to South Africa, health care will with no doubt be one of your main concerns. The South African health care system has become more accessible since the end of apartheid in 1994. In fact, less than 4 years old children and pregnant women are entitled to free health care services. Moreover, many new medical centers have been set up across the country.

However, some social ills still prevail in the country. In fact, public hospitals face a lack of human resources while private hospitals and clinics are more popular with the higher class as these have better equipment and staff. Moreover, you are likely to find more hospitals in tourist cities and areas.


Most South African hospitals provide quality health care services. Private hospitals, for their part, are famous in the field of medical tourism. In all cases, rates are quite affordable with regard to the quality of health care services provided.

Note that foreign nationals have to subscribe to a health insurance to be entitled to either public or private health care services.

Public health system

Public hospitals in South Africa are improving continuously. To date, the country hosts not less than 162 sanitary districts. A new administrative structure is currently being studied so as to ease the access to health care service in rural regions. There are also around 3,500 clinics which provide health care services free of charge to pregnant women and less than 6 years old children. Note that fees applied in public hospital vary according to the patient's income and his dependents.

Private health system

On the other hand, health services provided by private hospitals and clinics are much more expensive. However, rates are lower than in other developed countries such as the USA. Moreover, many private hospitals and clinics are run by doctors and companies, namely Netcare and Mediclinic, among others. Note that South Africa hosts around 200 private hospitals and clinics.

Health care for expats

Whether you have moved temporarily or permanently to South Africa, you should have no trouble in accessing to health care services. Nevertheless, you will have to produce either your health insurance card or its reference number. In fact, all relating fees are refunded by your health insurance.

As mentioned above, fees applied by public hospitals and clinics will vary according to your income, but this is will not necessarily be the case in the private sector.

 Useful links: – Directory of health care services in South Africa 
Hospital Association South Africa
Yellow Pages – Directory of health care services

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