Information for Patients
The healthcare system of South Africa consists of both public and private sectors. The majority of the population in South Africa relies on public facilities. The public healthcare facilities have been suffering over the years due to lack of resources and staff. These facilities function at a low cost by subsidizing 40% of the fee.
As such, the wealthier 20% of the population or so is encouraged to rely on smaller private healthcare sector. Private facilities ask for higher fees to accommodate significantly more efficient and high quality services.
At present, there is not a national health insurance scheme. Residents can chose to purchase private healthcare insurance. Anyone planning to visit or temporarily reside in South Africa must provide proof of private medical health insurance when applying for visas.
Information for Health Care Professionals
Medical doctors planning to practice medicine in South Africa should first apply for a request to verify international medical credentials through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) for the International Credential Services (EICS). Applicants should then seek medical registration through the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA). Applicants must be endorsed by the Foreign Workforce Management for the Department of Health (FWMP). They should finally apply for a South African work permit. Applicants will only be considered if a positioned cannot be filled by a local graduate. Volunteers do not need HPCSA registration.
English is the main language of instruction with exception to a minority of schools that use Afrikaans.
There is a heavy shortage of qualified healthcare staff in South Africa. In particular, it is estimated that around 1 in 6 of the population in South Africa is in need of mental health support. There is a severe shortage in qualified staff and facilities in the mental health field.
Information for Travelers
Even though South Africa does not seem to be a popular choice for medical tourism, there is suggestion that it might grow with its medical advancements. In fact, other countries in the African continent tend to seek aid from South Africa when in need of a complicated medical procedures.
Recommended vaccinations before travelling to South Africa include hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies in addition to all other routine vaccinations.
There has been an influx of HIV/AIDS cases in South Africa over the past decade displaying high prevalence amongst the general population. Visitors are highly advice to practice normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.
Common languages spoken in hospitals in South Africa include English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Northern and Southern Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi, Venda and Southern Ndebele.
In case of a medical emergency during your stay in South Africa, dial 10177.
Link to the Ministry of health website for South Africa: http://www.health.gov.za/