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National Health Act, 2003 (Act No. 61 of 2003)




the socio-economic injustices, imbalances and inequities of health services of the past;
the need to heal the divisions of the past and to establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
the need to improve the quality of life of all citizens and to free the potential of each person;



the State must, in compliance with section 7(2) of the Constitution, respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights, which is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa;
in terms of section 27(2) of the Constitution the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within its available resources to achieve the progressive realisation of the right of the people of South Africa to have access to health care services, including reproductive health care;
section 27(3) of the Constitution provides that no one may be refused emergency medical treatment;
in terms of section 28(1)(c) of the Constitution every child has the right to basic health care services;
in terms of section 24(a) of the Constitution everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being;



unite the various elements of the national health system in a common goal to actively promote and improve the national health system in South Africa;
provide for a system of co-operative governance and management of health services, within national guidelines, norms and standards, in which each province, municipality and health district must address questions of health policy and delivery of quality health care services;
establish a health system based on decentralised management, principles of equity, efficiency, sound governance, internationally recognised standards of research and a spirit of enquiry and advocacy which encourages participation;
promote a spirit of co-operation and shared responsibility among public and private health professionals and providers and other relevant sectors within the context of national, provincial and district health plans,


BE IT  ENACTED by the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, as follows: