Advocacy Toolkit #8

The Facts

South Africa’s health system is dysfunctional, mostly thanks to the country’s history of discrimination based on race and gender. The current provincial healthcare system is focused on a primary care model that only makes provision for cervical and breast cancer in the Ideal Clinic Algorithm. The consequence is that staff at these primary healthcare clinics are not cancer-minded, failing to ensure early diagnosis of all cancers at this level of care. This results in weak referral systems, with poor provider-patient understanding impacting negatively on prompt diagnosis, and on timeous referral to tertiary level treatment and care. [1]

Massive inequities in cancer care are a harsh reality – between provinces, between rural and urban areas, and even within cities themselves. [2]

And the poor are the ultimate losers, especially in respect of cancer, where timely diagnosis and treatment are paramount.


  • Properly planned cancer service delivery models focused on making early diagnosis, treatment and care more accessible to rural cancer patients and their families. 
  • Innovative transport solutions for cancer patients who need to travel long distances to access care. 
  • Accommodation for patients and family support at tertiary treatment centres. 
  • Special cancer social support grants for patients, their families and carers on arrival at treatment facilities. 
  • Special dedicated social protection for patients identified with social security needs.


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