28 September 2012

26 SA medical stats

SA healthcare is in turmoil. Here are some interesting stats about the state of healthcare in our country.


Medical care in South Africa is a hot topic. The last five statistics were provided by Dr Jonathan Broomberg, CEO of Discovery Health, in a speech at the Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA) Conference held in September in Cape Town. The rest were provided in a press release from Profmed and taken from the government website

  • Seventy-four percent of state health facilities failed to comply with cleanliness rules. (Graham Anderson, the Principal Officer of Profmed, quoted statistics provided in Parliament in 2011).
  • These stats also revealed that staff attitude was found to be sub-standard in 69% of facilities.
  • Furthermore,  55% of facilities did not have the necessary medicines and supplies.
  • About 17% of South Africans belong to medical schemes, according to, a government website.
  • The health budget for 2012/2013 paid from the SA National Treasury was R121-billion.
  • The total health spend in SA was R248,6-billion, which represented 8,3% of our GDP. This includes contributions by private individuals to medical schemes. The World Health Organization recommends it should be no more than 5%.
  • The SA government has as a goal to increase life expectancy from 56.5 years in 2009 to 58.5 years in 2014.
  • South Africa has more than 110 registered medical schemes, with around 3, 4-million principal members (and 7,8-million beneficiaries).
  • There are 4 200 public health facilities in South Africa.
  • Since 1994, more than 1 600 clinics have been built or upgraded.
  • In March 2012, 165 371 qualified health practitioners in both public and private sectors were registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
  • The doctor-to-population ratio is estimated to be 0.77 per 1 000. But because the vast majority of GPs – 73% – work in the private sector, there is just one practising doctor for every 4 219 people.
  • About 1 200 medical students graduate annually.
  • The Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa had 3 773 registered "complementary health" practitioners in 2012.
  • An estimated 1,06-million adults and 105 123 children were receiving antiretroviral treatment in 2010. This was up from 101 416 and close to 12 000 children in 2005.
  • In 2011, 16,6% of the adult population (aged 15–49) years was HIV-positive.
  • The HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign was launched in April 2010 – by mid- 2012, almost 20-million people had been tested and knew their status. Millions were also screened for TB.
  • South Africa has a maternal mortality ratio of 310 deaths per 100 000 live births.
  • The infant (under-1) mortality rate in 2010 was 41 deaths per 1 000 live births.
  • Only 4% of the population is at high risk of malaria and 6% at low risk, while 90% live in malaria-free areas.
  • An estimated 80% of South Africans consult with traditional healers alongside general medical practitioners.
  • Broomberg said that medical inflation at 10,9% was almost double general CPI inflation of 5,5%.
  • There are three fundamental drivers of the high cost of medical care: new technology; new facilities opening; and doctors’ decisions.
  • There has been a 12% increase in the burden of disease over the last 4 years.
  • Increased hospital utilisation was a major factor contributing 40% to increased hospital inflation and an average annualised increase in hospital claims of 2,01%. 
  • Broomberg also pointed out that 650 000 Discovery members would require R3bn for chronic medication this year.

(Compiled by Susan Erasmus, Health24, September 2012)

Read more about medical schemes.

Read more about medical money.







Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Exercise benefits for seniors »

Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running

Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness

When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them.