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The country, according to the annual report released by the Department of Health, shows that while there is progress in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, there is still a long way to go in terms of the overall improvement of health services. The country still faces serious challenges for pregnant women, maternal mortality, poverty-related diseases and gender-based violence (2006). South Africa attracts a lot of attention from medical researchers due to the unbalanced health care among its citizens. In addition, the issue of racial apartheid was a problem prior to 1994 and this had a profound impact on the dissemination of health services among its citizens. Therefore, South Africa’s history of apartheid, unbalanced health care/ HIV-AIDS epidemic makes it an ideal place to examine. Location Geographically, the country is located on the Southern tip of the African continent. The Atlantic Ocean borders it on the west while the Indian Ocean borders it on both the South and East. Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe lie on its Northern border while Mozambique and Swaziland are located on its Northeast borders. South Africa uniquely encloses an independent kingdom called Lesotho (Inter Knowledge Corp, 2010). Population The country is about 472,000 square miles wide (equivalent to 1.2 million sq. km.) and lies beneath the Tropic of Capricorn. It is comprised of three geographical primary regions: an extensive central plateau – and a nearly unceasing cliff of mountain ranges that circle the plateau from the Western, Eastern and Southern side, with a strip of land along the coast (Inter Knowledge Corp, 2010). According to WHO statistics, South Africa has a population of approximately 50,133,000 with a gross national income per capita (PPP international $) of 10,360. In the year 2009, the life expectancy at birth m/f (years) was 54/55 but the probability of dying under five (per 1,000 live births) is currently unavailable. The total expenditure on health per capita is approximated at 935 with a total expenditure on health % of GDP (2010) estimated at 8.9 (WHO, 2012). Government In pre-apartheid times, the South African government had a highly bureaucratic health care system. The administration of health care was divided into 14 separate departments, which were responsible for looking after the health of the different racial groups, the homelands, and six self-governing territories. The health care services were divided into preventive and curative among government departments, the provinces and the local authorities. The expenditure on tertiary health services was prioritized above primary health care services. This led to the development of a private health sector that is unregulated by the government. In addition, a lack of commitment by the government in terms of training, staffing and ways to eradicate poverty have contributed to the country’s high infant mortality, maternal mortality, life expectancy at birth and incidences of infectious diseases (such as tuberculosis and measles) among many citizens, especially black people (Department of health, 2010). However, in 1994, South Africa was among the few African countries that had started transforming the health care system. Legislature passed bills that ensured equal distribution of resources, restructuring ...Show more

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Nursing In Global Health Systems (Country: South Africa) Valerie Blemur Florida International University NUR 4667 – Nursing in Global Health System December 3, 2012 Introduction In the early 1990’s, South Africa as a nation had started aligning itself with the mission and vision of the World Health Organization (WHO) organization…
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