Health Management Public Health & Health Systems

Increase in health care spending for Free State but low utilization

Almost half of the Free State’€™s three million people live in households that survived on less than R800 per month in 2005.

There has been a significant increase in primary health care spend since 2001 but utilization of this service has decreased to well below the national target set by the health department. The clinical workload of nurses had increased over the past three years to just over 36 patients per nurse per day.

Although the stillbirth and perinatal mortality rate in the province continued to decline, the stillbirth rate was still the second highest in the country. The proportion of children under five who are not gaining weight increased slightly to 3,6 percent in 2006/7 and remained the highest rate in South Africa.

Researchers said indicators pointed to relatively well managed district hospitals.

The Fezile Dabi district, with a population of just over half a million people, reported a dramatic rise in the proportion of antenatal clients tested for HIV to almost 85 percent. The nevirapine uptake among pregnant HIV positive women in the district was extremely low at 17,5 percent while the data showed the nevirapine uptake of babies of HIV positive women fluctuating widely and in need of attention.

Lejweleputswa district’€™s primary health care utilization rate dropped substantially to 1,5 visits per person per year in 2006/7, the lowest in the province and the sixth lowest in the country. The district succeeded in reducing its stillbirth rate and perinatal mortality rate although these remained the second highest and highest respectively in the province.

The District Health Barometer reported a decrease in the status of the 133 666 people in the Xhariep district with a rise in the deprivation index and a high poverty rate ‘€“ six out of 10 people live on less than R800 per month.

Other Provinces:


Western Cape


Eastern Cape


Northern Cape

North West Province


About the author

Anso Thom