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The Impact of Globalization on the Health Sector in South Africa

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The Impact of Globalization on the Health Sector in South Africa

After the Apartheid era, massive inequalities in income, health status, access to health care and other social services continued to dominate in South Africa. The Apartheid era was a system of racial segregation that was implemented in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. Due to colonization, whites had ruled South Africa for several centuries, which resulted in the creation of a system that was constructed to serve as a legal framework for continued economic and political dominance by people of European descent (WHO 2003: Antiretroviral Therapy). The apartheid era came to an end as a consequence of both inner and global pressure and South Africa’s new democratic government. The new government claims that improving the access to health care is a main priority noting, “emphasis should be placed on reaching … the most vulnerable” (Department of Health 1997:13). Giving access to health care is becoming an even greater challenge. South Africa was, and is still facing an exploding HIV/AIDS epidemic that, if anything, is highly associated with health care demands. Today, there are more than 5.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa, this accounts for more than 21.5% of the entire population (CIA World Fact book: 2006). This paper aims to understand how the health care sector has dealt with the challenges faced in dealing with immense inequalities and a growing epidemic in the context of globalization. Furthermore, it will become evident that South Africa has, in some ways, addressed these challenges effectively but these challenges are facing a great developmental trap. Therefore, simple strategies that could offer potential benefits to South Africa in light of these challenges will be examined.
For the sake of clarity, globalization will be defined as the “process of increasing economic,...

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