About 200m from where I work in Rosebank, Johannesburg, there is a private clinic housing a general practitioner, a team of specialised surgeons, a rehabilitation centre, and state-of-the-art imaging and radiology technology.

If I needed medical attention, I could seek it quickly — so long as I was able to pay upfront.

If I were among the 17% of the country’s population that Statistics South Africa’s2016 household survey says is covered by a medical scheme, I might be able to claim back part of my upfront payment from my medical aid, depending on the type of cover I had.

Nine hundred kilometres from where I work, and 26km away from the nearest tarred road, lies a public healthcare facility. The people of this underserved rural district, where the hospital is situated, are dissuaded from travelling to it on the rough gravel.

So are emergency vehicles. ….more