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Use of public and private health services in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


  • Lucia Knight
  • Pranitha Maharaj


Divisions between the public and private health sectors in South Africa have resulted in inequalities in access to each of these sectors. Using the KwaZulu-Natal Income Dynamics Survey, the aim of the paper is to explore the patterns and determinants of health-seeking behaviour among black Africans. The results show that the majority of respondents consulted public health services. Despite this, it was possible to determine that income-based poverty and access to medical aid were the most significant predictors of healthcare choice. Poverty was related to other predicting factors such as employment, level of education and household size. Surprisingly, a sizable proportion of the poor without access to health insurance were using private health services. Although the reasons for this could not be determined, this presents opportunities for further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucia Knight & Pranitha Maharaj, 2009. "Use of public and private health services in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 17-28.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:26:y:2009:i:1:p:17-28
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350802640040

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:pri:rpdevs:case_etal_hsb is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Anne Case & Alicia Menendez & Cally Ardington, 2005. "Health Seeking Behavior in Northern KwaZulu-Natal," Working Papers 0504, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    3. repec:pri:cheawb:case_etal_hsb.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ozler, Berk, 2007. "Not Separate, Not Equal: Poverty and Inequality in Post-apartheid South Africa," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(3), pages 487-529, April.
    5. repec:pri:cheawb:case_etal_hsb is not listed on IDEAS
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