Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced measures to beef up state health services at a conference in Johannesburg.
These included sending more students for training to Cuba, building new hospitals, refurbishing nursing colleges and appointing a health ombudsman.
From September this year, 1000 matriculants will be sent to Cuba to train as medical doctors, up from the current 60 students per year.
Government also planned to pay private sector doctors to work a certain number of hours at state clinics.
The minister said the state would spend R1.4 billion on the refurbishment of 102 nursing colleges across the country.
"We believe the decision to close nursing colleges was a wrong decision," he said.
Motsoaledi said while the public sector had to improve its efficiencies, the private sector needed to control its costs.
"Health is a public good. It cannot be left to the dictates of the market," he said.
Motsoaledi said his department would try and improve hygiene, infection control, long queues in hospitals, drug shortages and the safety of staff.
A health ombudsman would be appointed to create a platform for the public to lodge complaints.
Motsoaledi said there were plans to introduce a school health system which would deal with immunisation, the use of drugs and alcohol, and teenage pregnancy.
(Sapa, July 2012)
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