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Treatment availability in South Africa; the differences between private and government hospitals

Treatment availability in South Africa; the differences between private and government hospitals
You can get help with problems caused by the harmful use of drugs and alcohol. There are different types of services available to the public, depending on the kind of problems experienced by you or the person you are seeking help for. This is a guide to some of the options that are available to help you. If you have access to medical aid and financial resources for private treatment, you can access a range of private psychiatrists and psychologists through any of the private treatment centres in Cape Town.

In-patient service means a residential treatment service provided at a treatment centre.

It is a service to a person(s) engaging in harmful drug and alcohol use and to the people adversely affected by his/her behaviour. This type of treatment involves attending regular sessions at a community-based treatment centre. COSTING: Certain facilities render services without any cost implications to the client e.g. government treatment centres.


South Africa can be described as being both developed and underdeveloped at the same time. It is home to cosmopolitan city centres, comfortable neighbourhoods and suburbs, and impoverished townships. The South African government funds its public healthcare, which gives it many advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of public healthcare include free care for all citizens. Because of the high amount of impoverished communities in South Africa, free healthcare benefits those who could not otherwise afford healthcare. The disadvantages of public healthcare are long wait times, poor quality of care compared to private healthcare, rushed appointments, old facilities, and poor disease control and prevention practices.

Private healthcare is much different from public healthcare. The government does not fund private healthcare, so citizens must purchase their private insurance to be treated at a private healthcare facility. The advantages of private healthcare are short wait times, quality care, better facilities, adequate resources available, appointments are not rushed, and proper disease control and prevention practices being utilized. The disadvantages of private healthcare are that it is expensive, fewer facilities and patients are responsible for paying for healthcare visits and pharmaceuticals. The majority of South Africans cannot afford private insurance. Buildings are securely locked and require patients to get buzzed. Facilities are quiet, clean, and richly furnished. The public hospitals in South Africa appear more warehouse-like than hospitals, and the private facility feels more like a fancy hotel than a wellness centre. Each patient receives the attention and care they deserve. Adequate time is spent with each patient and document their appointments thoroughly afterwards. After each patient, equipment is wiped down that was used with cleaner and doctors wash their hands. These vast differences show that private healthcare is solely for the wealthy and entitled population of South Africa, and public healthcare is for the poor. There is no middle ground. The wide gap between these two sectors is a significant problem in South Africa.

Lack of glove usage is a significant problem in South African hospitals. Not wearing gloves and not changing gloves between patients can result in infection. There is poor disease control and prevention. Healthcare professionals in South Africa are not properly trained in disease control and prevention. Employees treat patient after patient without washing their hands or using a hand sanitiser. Townships in Cape Town are impoverished communities where people live in shacks made of scrap metal and dirt floors, do not have running water and have nothing but porta-potties to use for a bathroom. Many citizens of South Africa are afraid to go to the hospital for fear of getting sicker while they are there. South Africans who live in townships often trust traditional healers more than medical doctors.