Cape Town – South Africa’s health sector accounts for 12% of public spending and it’s the third-fastest growing expenditure item in the budget, said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in his medium-term budget.
Health sector budgets in general, Gordhan said, are under pressure due to compensation costs, rising utilisation of public health services, higher import prices of medicines as a result of the weak rand, and sector priorities that require additional funding.
“Spending increases in health are mainly to support the expansion of the HIV/Aids programme,” Gordhan said, “in particular antiretroviral treatment, which now reaches 3.5 million people in South Africa.”
He expected a significant increase in antiretroviral therapy with the implementation of universal test-and-treat (treatment initiation in all age groups regardless of CD4 count) that took place in September this year.
Currently 90% of people living with HIV/Aids know their status, while 90% of those who know their status have been introduced to antiretroviral therapy.
Spending on health in the 2016/17 budget amounts to R169.3bn, increasing to R184.4bn in 2017/18. In the 2018/19 budget it will climb to R198.9bn and to R214.2 in 2019/20, representing an 8.2% growth over the medium term.
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