Public health and Covid-19 in South Africa

Healthcare in South Africa

Healthcare in South Africa is slightly below average in a worldwide comparison.

Probably the most important indicator that can be used to summarize the efficiency of all measures is general life expectancy. In other words, the theoretical age that a newborn child could potentially reach today. At the moment, this age in South Africa is 62.2 years for men and 68.0 years for women. For comparison: worldwide life expectancy is about 7.3 years lower (men: 69.8 / women: 74.9 years).

A total of 546.69 USD per inhabitant is spent annually on health measures at state expense. This corresponds to approximately 9.1 percent of the gross domestic product. Internationally, this amount averages 1,115.01 USD (~ 9.8% of the respective GDP).

Back to overview: South Africa

Distribution of the corona virus

Spread of COVID-19 in South Africa

Current incidence in the week ending 01/26/2023: 2.4 new infections per 100,000 population

Since the beginning of the pandemic until January 26th, 2023, a total of 4,053,527 infected people and 102,568 deaths have been reported in South Africa.

The total of 4,053,527 infected people currently represents 6.8 percent of the total population. The number of new infections during the seven days preceding January 26th, 2023, was 1,413, for a 7-day incidence of 2.4 cases per 100,000 population. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, this results in a mortality rate of about 2.5 percent in South Africa.

Current vaccination status

According to official WHO data, a total of 38.05 million vaccine doses have been administered as of December 25th, 2022. More recent data are not yet available to WHO. There are 23.97 million people who have received at least one vaccination (40.4 percent). The booster vaccination was received by 3.88 million people (6.5 percent).

21.04 million of these are considered fully vaccinated in South Africa (= 35.5 percent).
This puts South Africa well behind in terms of vaccination coverage. The vaccination rate is higher in 175 countries.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we update the worldwide case numbers daily. A list of all infections and deaths by country can be found on our COVID-19 virus topic page.

Weight and size

Body height169 cm158 cm
Weight71.9 kg74.1 kg


South AfricaØ worldwide
Diabetes *12.70%8.81%
HIV / Aids0.69%0.03%

* The number of people suffering from diabetes refers only to inhabitants aged between 20 and 79 years.

Child vaccinations

South AfricaØ worldwide
Hepatitis B0.09%0.08%
DTP *8.60%8.14%

* DTP is a combined basic vaccination against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus, which should be given to children up to the age of 23 months.

In South Africa, 20.3 percent of all over 15-year-olds are still smokers.
The number of underweight newborns is 14 percent.

Medical supplies

Public health and Covid-19 in South AfricaMedical care provided by doctors and hospitals in South Africa is below average compared to the world population. The country provides 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants. The global mean here is 2.9 beds. Within the EU, 4.6 beds are available for every 1,000 residents.

With about 54,100 physicians in South Africa, there are about 0.91 doctors per 1000 inhabitants. Here again the comparison: worldwide this standard is 1.50 physicians per 1,000 inhabitants and in the EU is 3.57.

Through medical care, the mortality rate of major known diseases can be reduced as far as possible. For example, only about 24 percent of all people who suffer from cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or chylomicron retention disease (CRD) currently die.


The above data correspond to the information from the World Health Organization, Global Health Workforce Statistics, UNICEF, State of the World's Children, Childinfo, Global Health Observatory Data Repository and OECD. The case numbers for the spread of the COVID-19 come from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Infected and deaths by the corona virus (COVID 19)Spread of the Corona virus Covid19 (SARS-CoV-2)Worldwide development of the number of cases and deaths due to the corona virus.
Comparison: Life expectancyAverage life expectancy by countryInternational ranking of life expectancy in 122 countries including summary by continents. Explanation of significant factors.
Comparison: quality of lifeQuality of life in country comparisonCompare the quality of life around the globe: In which countries is life pleasant, safe and healthy?