Development of the health system in the Western Cape: experiences since 1994
David Pienaar, Tracey
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Provincial governments in South Africa have a critical responsibility in terms of population health, yet few provincial-level analyses of health-system development have been undertaken. This chapter reports on research being conducted in the Western Cape to understand the province’s particular experience of health-system transformation since 1994, set against wider national experience. The research is being undertaken collaboratively by the authors of this chapter, a team of Western Cape provincial health managers and researchers. The chapter is structured to reflect the Western Cape’s 22-year experience. The situation that faced the province in 1994 is outlined briefly, followed by a description of key features of the three health strategies that have driven provincial health-system development over time. An assessment is then presented of the overall nature and patterns of Western Cape health-system change, and the achievements and limitations of this transformation are considered. The chapter concludes with some early lessons from this experience, and relevant, international experience is considered.