Updated 27 February 2014

R145.7 billion budgeted to save SA's healthcare industry

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced the budget for healthcare in South Africa in the National Assembly on 26 February 2014.

R145.7 billion sounds like a lot of money, and by all accounts it is sorely needed. Let's see how it will be put to use:

Of this amount, R52.3bn is for district health services; R26.7bn for provincial services; and, R24.3bn for central health services.

About R7.7bn is earmarked for spending on health infrastructure.

Tabling his budget in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said spending on healthcare had produced visible results.

"But the improvements to this country's health system over the past five years are best seen in our rising life expectancy, the reduction in infant, child and maternal mortality, and the changed lives of 2.5 million people who now have access to antiretroviral."

HIV/Aids budget has increased

He said R41bn had been spent on HIV and Aids programmes over the past five years, and R43.5bn was budgeted for the next three.

Read: White paper on NHI to be tabled 'shortly'

"We have spent R38bn on 1879 hospitals and other health facility projects, and R26 billion is allocated over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period ahead."

A once-off allocation has been made

A once-off allocation of R30 million had been made for another South African demographic health survey, which collected population-based health data.

The survey is normally carried out every five years, but has not been done since 2003/04.

According to the 2014 Estimates of National Expenditure, tabled by Gordon, the spending focus over the medium term is on increasing life expectancy and reducing the burden of disease.

Is it enough?

Speaking to the Mail and Guardian, Daygan Eager of the Rural Health Advocacy Project at the University of the Witwatersrand said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's 2014 budget speech was "disappointing" and that 'Gordhan's commitment to lowering the budget deficit leaves little space for improvements in healthcare service delivery.'

Read more:

NHI won't replace private sector

A healthy lifestyle vs. budget blues

WCape allocates health budget

Image: balancing money and health, from Shutterstock


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