South Africa

Health policy: The election’s crucial – and underrated – issue

By Khadija Patel 22 April 2014

South Africans can attest to the grim consequences of regressive stances on issues of public health: The disastrous HIV/AIDS policies of Thabo Mbeki are said to have cost the lives of at least 400,000 South Africans. The real effect, however, may never be known. And while the policies of the Zuma administration have been more progressive, with the overhaul of the health department being one of Zuma’s most apparent achievements during his term in office, the everyday experience of public health care in South Africa remains a struggle. By KHADIJA PATEL for SOUTH AFRICA VOTES 2014.

Overcrowded hospitals, overworked hospital staff and a perennial shortage of medicines are some of the challenges that riddle the public health system.

And yet health is not the most pressing campaign issue during this election season; it seem to have been buried beneath an avalanche of rhetoric on jobs and Nkandla. But for the majority of South Africans who rely on public health services, the policies that govern it are often the difference between life and death.

While there may not be much attention on the health policies of political parties right now, how parties approach health in South Africa remains crucial to driving South Africa forward.

Below is some of the most critical need-to-know information on various parties’ health manifestos. DM

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SOUTH AFRICA VOTES 2014 takes a look at how some of the major parties in this election compare on their health policies.

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