Health & Mental Health Services

How does the Health system in South Africa work?

Where to Go: In South Africa, the public healthcare system is structured in different levels. You can visit public clinics and hospitals for medical help:

Clinics treat common health needs, known as ‘primary health care’. Clinics refer patients to hospitals when a patient needs further treatment. Clinics are run by specially trained primary health care nurses. There are different types of clinics such as mobile and satellite clinics.

Community Health Centres are larger clinics, and they usually have doctors as well as nurses.

Hospitals are for surgery, emergency treatment and serious illness that cannot be treated at the Clinic. Clinics and doctors refer patients to hospitals: individuals can only present themselves without a referral if it is an emergency.

Useful Contacts

Aids Helpline:  0800 012 322

Mental Health Information Line:  0800 567 567

Children’s Cancer Helpline:  0800 333 0555

National Health System Ethics Line:  0800 20 14 144 14

Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town: Migrant And Refugee Access To Public Healthcare In South Africa explains more on the rights Asylum Seekers and Refugees have when accessing healthcare in South Africa

Related information