Refugees, migrants and health care in South Africa, explained

Keep up to date with our Teach-Yourself Series – condensed articles on migration issues in South Africa. Our articles and infographics aim to spread awareness on South Africa’s migration landscape, and our standpoints on the issue. This is a joint initiative between The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town and Sonke Gender Justice and Lawyers for Human Rights. The first four topics in this series are: the Refugee Amendment Act, the White Paper on International Migration, birth registration and health care access.


The rights of migrants and refugees to access the South African healthcare system is a complex matter. Laws and policies clash, and medical staff are left confused – especially as implementation of these laws differs depending on the staff or the clinic that you come into contact with. Meanwhile, the South African healthcare system struggles, in some areas, to provide sufficient medical care to any person, regardless of their nationality or status.

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Healthcare Explainer