oa South African Journal of Bioethics and Law - Universal healthcare - through the eyes of a medical student : forum

Volume 8 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1999-7639



Regardless of which bioethical theory one consults - be it, for example, utilitarianism, which states that one must do the most good for the greatest number of people, 'An action is morally right if the consequences of that action are on balance more positive than negative for the greatest number'; or perhaps deontology, which is duty theory 'there are certain actions which we have a duty to perform or to refrain fromperforming' - one will likely come to the conclusion that universal healthcare is an ideal which, if at all possible, should be achieved by mankind. It is a question of human rights, and respect for one's fellow man, or perhaps, more fundamentally treating those around us with the care we would expect for ourselves, or family members. In this article, I shall attempt to unravel universal healthcare as an ideal. To bring it down to fundamentals and perhaps make suggestions towards how such an ideal may be realised. I will look at relevant healthcare systems, which have been implemented overseas, and compare them with what government hopes to implement in South Africa (SA) - a National Health Insurance. Most importantly, I will analyse universal healthcare in the context of SA, and establish whether this ideal is attainable. Universal healthcare is the gem of healthcare in the 21st century. It is what all healthcare professionals would love to achieve within their lifetimes, but to achieve a goal as immense as this, one needs to build from the foundations upwards. As such, I shall discuss and suggest ways in which healthcare students can contribute to this ultimate ideal.

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