Programmatic approach: Health and Wellbeing

The basic and intermediate needs for humans to flourish are physical health, nutrition (food and water), healthcare, safe birth control and child-bearing, a safe physical environment and mental health. The key dimensions of wellbeing encompass bodily wellbeing, mental health, access to quality health services and a good physical environment. Given South Africa’s history and ever-changing landscape, understanding is needed of how cultural and social dynamics influence health behaviours and wellbeing to inform tailored health promotion interventions. The performance of South Africa’s health system has been poor, despite good policies and relatively high spending as a proportion of the GDP. The research should seek to understand the ways in which people navigate their health and wellbeing for the purpose of developing policies and practices that will lead to a health system that is patient focused and managed on the basis of principles of universal healthcare and provision.

The key constraints facing health systems include inequitable and fragmented allocation; slow gains in life expectancy and reduction of child mortality; gross inequality; the growing complex of the burden of diseases; and poor governance, management and accountability. Addressing these constraints requires reorientation of health systems towards comprehensive primary healthcare and institutional reforms for implementation of National Health Insurance to create one health system that will translate into improved human and social capabilities through improved health and wellbeing.

Social protection is an important component of health and wellbeing. It refers to policies, programmes and measures designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to manage social risks, such as poor health, disability, social exclusion, old age, food security, social relief programmes and access to services. By 2030 the NDP aims to have achieved an inclusive social protection system that addresses all areas of vulnerability and is responsive to the needs, realities, conditions and livelihoods of those, including women and children, who are most at risk.