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South Africa has taken several measures to improve and strengthen its public health system and healthcare delivery with no significant improvement. Healthcare units functioning as individual segments, inadequate professionals, shortage of funds, a surge in health risks, and patient inflow affected the capability of the existing healthcare systems to provide adequate support. The South African public health system is rebuilding itself and working to enhance health and well-being by implementing sustainable practices, linking health services, maintaining equity in delivering healthcare, and ensuring effective utilization of available resources. It’s looking to recruit qualified professionals to lead progressively and improve preventive medicine programs and initiatives. A bachelor of public health online degree from Texila provides the perfect opportunity for students keen on entering the field.
Let’s look at the aspects of the South African public health system:
Since gaining its democratic status, South Africa has taken several measures to improve and strengthen its public health system and healthcare delivery. With no significant improvement, the increase in the spread of several diseases impacts the overall well-being of its people. With the rising healthcare challenges in 2012, the government took steps to study and assess the existing health system. The study involved a detailed district-wise assessment by specialist teams involving discussions with the management and personnel of healthcare organizations in the country. The reports were validated by non-profit organizations, councils, and academics in the field and reviewed by WHO. Challenges in South Africa’s healthcare system stated by the study:
- Healthcare units functioned as individual segments
- Inadequate healthcare personnel with expertise
- financial problems
To address the challenges, the government had to:
- integrate healthcare services
- recruit qualified healthcare personnel
- address financial deficits
Poorly functioning health systems fail to prevent and control epidemics. Shortage of funds, a surge in health risks, and patient inflow affected the capability of the existing healthcare systems to provide adequate support. It further contributed to hostile staff, long waiting periods, unclean facilities, shortage of medicines, and poor infection control, compromising the safety of healthcare providers and patients.
The public health systems include all organizations, institutions, and resources that work to improve people’s health, well-being, and living standard. Its objective is to enhance health and well-being by implementing sustainable practices, linking health services, maintaining equity in delivering healthcare, and ensuring effective utilization of available resources. Quality, cost, accessibility, equity, patient experience, and patient safety are factors used to measure the effectiveness of strategies and initiatives implemented by health organizations.
The following are critical to improving the efficacy of healthcare delivery and preparedness to tackle epidemics and achieve universal healthcare:
- Reinforcing healthcare workforce, leadership, and management
- Sharing health information
- Ensuring an adequate supply of medicines, vaccines, and equipment
- Integrating technology
Urbanization and changes in the lifestyle and behavior of people have made way for chronic conditions, infectious diseases, violence, and accidents. The country faced about 17% of the global HIV-TB epidemic and a high incidence of:
- Maternal and infant mortality
- Violence and injuries
- Chronic and psychological health conditions
- Health inequities due to its apartheid past
The health systems efficacy had to be enhanced to meet Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The World Bank reported the Gini index for income inequality was 0.634 in 2011 for South Africa, with 16.6% of the population living below the poverty.
Its expenditure on health aspects is more compared to any African country, but they do not yield the desired results in enhancing health. In a health system performance study for 191 WHO member countries, the country ranked 175th, which stressed the need for fortifying its public health systems to boost the well-being, living standards, and lifespan of its people.
The health system of South Africa comprises the public and private health sectors. The government handles the operations of the public health sector under the supervision of the National Department of Health. The public sector caters to 80% of the population the private sector caters to 20%. The complexity associated with its health system raises the need for dynamic professionals striving for a career in public health.
With the launch of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill in 2018, the government aims to ensure healthcare equity and improve the delivery of healthcare services and its outcome. With the covid-19 pandemic impacting the health of its people and the industry, healthcare organizations responded quickly, with medical personnel utilizing virtual platforms and digital technologies to interact with and serve their patients. Data analytics enabled them to understand healthcare needs, consumer behavior, and the economy. The health sector is revamping itself, making positive changes, and creating opportunities with sustainable practices in the long run.
Key Insights based on a study by PWC, a multi-national firm:
- NHI to transform healthcare help integrate the services of public and private sectors.
- The covid-19 pandemic has made healthcare institutions aware of their strengths and weakness and their preparedness to tackle emergencies.
- Stressed the need for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) support and initiatives.
- The increase in data volume increased the need for cybersecurity measures to secure information.
- The industry is foreseeing a bright future with disruptive innovation.
With the learnings from dealing with the covid-19 pandemic, healthcare organizations are working to improve their efficiency by:
- Trying to establish a balance between in-person and virtual consultations
- Utilizing digital technologies and analytics to improve operations
- Investing in local manufacturing and building supply chains that adapt and respond quickly
- Focus on ESG
- Improving cybersecurity measures
Qualified professionals are critical in the field to provide the necessary support, leadership, and guidance to ensure equity in access to healthcare and improve outcomes. It is crucial that you upskill yourself with a public health bachelor’s degree to enhance your skillsets and expertise to meet challenges and stay updated on the technological advancements and the best practices in the field.
Leading Universities in South Africa Offering programs in public health:
- University of Witwatersrand – offers PGDip in Occupational Therapy, Child Health, Occupational Health, Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, HS Education, and MPH courses.
- University of the Western Cape – offers PGDip in Public Health, MPH, and Ph.D. in Public Health courses.
- University of Pretoria – offers PGDip in Public Health and Public Management courses.
- University of Venda – offers PGDip in Public Health, MPH, and Ph.D. in Public Health courses.
- University of Kwazulu-Nata – offers Public Health Medicine, PGDip in public health, MPH, and Ph.D. in public health courses.
|Program||Cost in ZAR|
|Bachelor’s program||40000 – 75000|
|For master’s and PhD programs||200000 approx.|
|Accommodation costs||5000 – 12000|
Public health professional salary:
The salary for public health professionals varies with qualification and experience. Specialists with master’s in public health salaries are higher than specialists with diplomas or bachelor’s degrees.
|Salary range for Public Health Professionals in ZAR|
|Entry-level||6500 – 15000|
|Mid-level||15000 – 25000|
|Managerial level||25000 – 35000|
The salary range for entry-level public health personnel with leading non-profit organizations:
|Organization||Monthly Salary in ZAR|
|FHI 360||12,078 – 13,542|
|Danish Refugee Council (DRC)||8,418 – 9,150|
|Norwegian Refugee Council||8,418 – 9,150|
|International Medical Corps||6,588 – 7,320|
|Catholic Relief Services||12,078 – 13,176|
|Action Against Hunger||6,588 – 8,052|
Alternatively, budding South African students who prefer to study public health can opt to study with Texila American University, Zambia. A public health bachelor’s degree provides the proper foundation for progressive students.
Significance of studying with TAU, Zambia:
- Proximity to South Africa with a serene ambiance
- Faculty with rich qualifications and experience in the field
- Opportunities to pursue education via in-campus, part-time or online modes
- Affordable education and accommodation costs
- Broad-spectrum of specializations
- Get to learn about contemporary practices with exposure to the latest technologies.
- Live webinars on current and emerging issues in public health.
- Network with a positive and enthusiastic student crowd belonging to an eclectic cultural set-up and backgrounds from across the planet
- To enhance learning, the curriculum encompasses case studies, book and article reviews, forum discussions, etc…
- Exposure to study techniques and critical review of research works
Degrees in Public Health at TAU, Zambia:
|Bachelor’s in Public Health||4-year|
|Eligibility: Five O level credits with English and Maths|
|Bachelor’s in Public Health||2-year|
|Eligibility: 3-year diploma in relevant specialty from an accredited institution|
|(or) 2-year diploma and work experience in relevant specialty|
|Master’s in Public Health||2-year|
|Eligibility: BPH or Bachelor’s degree in allied health|
The South African public health system is rebuilding itself with positive changes and creating opportunities with sustainable practices. It’s looking to recruit qualified professionals to lead progressively and improve preventive medicine programs and initiatives. A bachelor of public health online degree from Texila provides the perfect opportunity for students keen on entering the field.