SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574
DE JAGER, Pieter et al. Recommendations to improve the National Development Plan for Health. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2012, vol.102, n.11, pp.827-829. ISSN 2078-5135.
In November 2011, a draft National Development Plan (NDP) was released that addresses two of South Africa's major challenges: poverty and inequity. Health and economic development are interdependent, presenting an important opportunity through the NDP to integrate health within goals of broader socioeconomic development. Reviewing the NDP identified gaps based on evidence and the epidemiological risk profile of South Africa. Recommendations to improve the NDP and to deal with poverty and inequity should focus on prevention and addressing the social determinants of health, including: (i) a multisectoral approach to establish a comprehensive early childhood development programme; (ii) fiscal and legislative policies to bolster efforts to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases; (iii) promoting and maintaining a healthy workforce; and (iv) promoting a culture of evidence-based priority setting. Achieving the goal of 'a long and healthy life for all South Africans' will require healthy public policies, well-functioning institutional and physical infrastructure, social solidarity, and an active and conscientious civil society.