A geospatial analysis of two-hour surgical access to district hospitals in South Africa

Chu, Kathryn M ; Dell, Angela J ; Moultrie, Harry ; Day, Candy ; Naidoo, Megan ; van Straten, Stephanie ; Rayne, Sarah (2020-08-13)

Journal Article

Abstract Background In a robust health care system, at least 80% of a country’s population should be able to access a district hospital that provides surgical care within 2 hours. The objective was to identify the proportion of the population living within 2 hours of a district hospital with surgical capacity in South Africa. Methods All government hospitals in the country were identified. Surgical district hospitals were defined as district hospitals with a surgical provider, a functional operating theatre, and the provision of at least one caesarean section annually. The proportion of the population within two-hour access was estimated using service area methods. Results Ninety-eight percent of the population had two-hour access to any government hospital in South Africa. One hundred and thirty-eight of 240 (58%) district hospitals had surgical capacity and 86% of the population had two-hour access to these facilities. Conclusion Improving equitable surgical access is urgently needed in sub-Saharan Africa. This study demonstrated that in South Africa, just over half of district hospitals had surgical capacity but more than 80% of the population had two-hour access to these facilities. Strengthening district hospital surgical capacity is an international mandate and needed to improve access.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05637-0
This item appears in the following collections: