Health Care in South Africa

by Jose Marc Castro on August 10, 2009

healthcareDUBAIWhen you are working or living abroad, or have plans of relocating into another country, it is very important that you protect you and your family’s health and their wellness. It is strongly recommended that you apply for a health insurance before finally moving to South Africa. The medical system in South Africa has a parallel private and public system that serves the population with many issues in staffing and funding. This was borne forth from the divisive history of South Africa but the current government is seeking to correct that inequality issue.

South Africa, officially called The Republic of South Africa is the country that is located at the southern most tip of Africa. The country borders the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. The country is also an independent enclave that is surrounded by the South African territory. South Africa is a part of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The economy of South Africa is largest in whole of Africa, and the 24th largest all around the world. Because of this, South Africa is generally considered as the most economically and socially developed country on Africa.

Standards of Care in South Africa

The standards of care in South Africa are considered the best among the other countries on the African continent, most particularly in the urban and the coastal areas. The South African climate is one of the healthiest in the world but it has quite a few public health issues such as HIV/AIDS, smoking related illnesses and tuberculosis. To address these issues, the country has a number of private and public hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. The hospital facilities in Johannesburg are considerably impressive. Hospitals and doctors though often require immediate payments for their health services thru cash or major credit cards. However, if you wish to have the consistent level of services expected from hospitals without having to pay the medical bills up front, seek for the advice of your local health insurance providers and ask about what suitable plan you can apply.

Food and Drinks in South Africa

Every time you travel all across the globe, it is essential to make sure that the food and the drinking water is safe. In most of the rural and the urban areas in South Africa, tap water is generally safe and potable to drink. Their milk products are properly pasteurized. Additionally, their dairy products, poultry, local meat, seafood, vegetables and fruits are generally considered safe to eat.

One of the flagship projects of the post apartheid South African government was creating projects for water supply and sanitation. These projects have provided great strides in improving both access and quality of water for the populace.

Diseases and Vaccination in South Africa

As with any other country, South Africa has certain diseases that expatriates should be aware about. Infectious diseases are generally major concerns not just in South Africa but the whole of Africa itself. It is better t seek for the most up-to-date medical advices before you decide to move. Try to set an appointment with your doctor at least four to six weeks before your trip. This will allow ample time for the vaccinations and other necessary shots to take effect. Furthermore, there are no risks for yellow fever all across South Africa. Thus, yellow fever vaccination certificates are required from the travelers and visitors that arrive from infected locations. Although not required by South African law, vaccinations against polio and typhoid are strongly recommended. Travelers are also advised for vaccines for rabies and Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.

Health Issues in South Africa

The climate in South Africa’s low altitude areas plays the spread of malaria. The malignant falciparum form lasts all throughout the year in most areas, specifically on the Northern Province, in Eastern Transvaal that includes the Kruger National Park, on northeastern KwaZulu, and far south Tugela River.

For expatriates and travelers, there are now available anti-malaria tablets. Most of these travelers take mefloquine. Furthermore, aside from taking anti-malaria tablets, some measures can be done to avoid mosquito bites. Avoiding malaria, as well as those other insect-carried diseases such as filariasis and dengue can be avoided by applying insect repellant and wearing loose and long clothing after dark. Additionally, avoid swimming on fresh water except in swimming pools that are properly chlorinated to avoid a parasitic infection called shistosomiasis.

Other medical issue in South Africa is the fast spread of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and HIV (Human ImmunoVirus) all throughout the African continent. So that you will not suffer from the medical concern, preventive action is very important.

Medical and Health Insurance in South Africa

By properly choosing the right private health insurer, you can expect to have the best personal service and have a consistent level of medical care. The most ideal companies are perhaps those that specifically cater to the growing expatriate. As a foreigner, one of the best ways to avoid mounting medical bills is by having health insurance with the proper coverage suited for you needs. These companies offer varied schemes that are tailored for people that are working or living abroad. In South Africa, the most notable health insurance partner is BUPA, the world’s biggest expatriate health insurer. This health insurance company protects more than eight million members in over one hundred and ninety countries worldwide.

BUPA offers adjustable range of schemes that are primarily designed to provide you with access to the best health care services possible, wherever and whenever you need it. Some of the benefits offered include access to 24-hour multilingual help lines, and direct settlements and arrangements in almost five thousand clinic hospitals worldwide. Additionally, other options available include repatriation and evacuation services that can take you to the nearest health care center that is medically excellent. Or if the situation requires it, it is possible to take you back home to your country.

Hospitals and Clinics in South Africa

South Africa has a number of private and public hospitals, much of which is located on the rural areas. In rural locations, health centers and clinics are available. The medical facilities in South Africa have very good facilities, especially those private hospitals. The general practitioners, the nurses, as well as the medical staff are trained at top medical schools in the country. Some of the specialists obtained their medical degrees and underwent training from western countries like the US and the UK.

Generally, the health care in South Africa is quite good. If you have plans to relocate there, there is nothing much to worry, as far as their health care system is concerned.

Cost of Medicine in South Africa

The medicine distributed in South Africa are relatively affordable. The rates are almost similar as with the medicines from other neighboring countries. The pharmacies are staffed with well-trained and professional pharmacists.

Emergencies in South Africa

Like with the other countries, South Africa has very good facilities in emergency cases. Ambulances are properly equipped with medical facilities to cater to emergency situations. They also have an emergency contact number everybody’s convenience.

Generally, the health care in South Africa is quite good. If you have plans to relocate there, there is nothing much to worry, as far as their health care system is concerned.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

EJEMEN CHIMA September 4, 2010 at 9:31 pm


i will appreciate, if you can link me up with any good doctor of maternity home in south africa cos i will like to come over there and have my miracle baby but before i come i want to have a personal doctor attending to me via mail and for him to book me for november 2010


Francois MBOUMBA January 19, 2012 at 11:09 am

I will appreciate if you can recommand me any good Doctor, specialist of stomac matters because I supposed to have a stomac ulcer. I would like to book before coming over between 27th of january and the 10th of February 2012.

Thank you


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