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South Africa currently runs a two-tiered healthcare system, comprising the public and the smaller, but fast-growing private sector. The country spent 9.0% of its GDP on healthcare in 2017 - higher than the 5% the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends for a country of its socio-economic status. However, despite this high expenditure, health outcomes remain poor in comparison with similar middle-income countries. This poor performance is attributed mainly to the inequities between the public and private sectors.
According to a 2018 report by South Africa’s Competition Commission, when it comes to the private healthcare sector, South Africa faces a problem of over-servicing and oversupplying. The report gives three examples to illustrate this: