Research Article

Health professionals and South Africa: supporting change in the health sector.

BMJ 1993; 307 doi: (Published 10 July 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;307:110
  1. T Waterston,
  2. A Zwi
  1. Community Health, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon, Tyne.


    Now that political change is on the way in South Africa, what should be the position of doctors who are invited to visit the country? Does the "academic boycott" still have relevance? Waterston and Zwi review the case for and against an academic boycott policy, using evidence collected during the recent visit by Physicians for Human Rights (UK) and the Johannes Wier Foundation. The health system in South Africa is still inequitable, and despite progress towards desegregation in hospitals there is little momentum towards universal provision of primary health care, especially in the rapidly growing townships around big cities. The authors consider that pressure on the government should be maintained by outside organisations but that support directed towards appropriate health care should be encouraged, particularly in public health and primary health care.