Leveraging Services for Employment, Growth and Equity: Access to Essential Services in Education and Health. Synthesis Paper

by PILLAY, P., 2005
Research Report, Employment Growth & Development Initiative, Human Sciences Research Council

A key impediment to growth in South Africa is the relative shortage of high-quality human capital, manifested as part of the unequal distribution of assets in the country. International evidence shows that an unequal distribution of assets, especially of human capital, hampers overall growth and disproportionately affects the income growth of the poor. Attaining optimal outcomes in education and health can have far-reaching benefits in terms of equality, growth and poverty reduction. But achieving satisfactory outcomes in these sectors also depends on the complementary provision of other services, particularly to poor communities. It is crucial for policymakers to recognise the linkages between education and health outcomes and the provision of clean water, adequate sanitation, cheap and accessible transport, and effective nutrition programmes. Pillay demonstrates the importance of improving access to and equity in the provision of essential services. He then describes the international evidence for investing in education, health, water and sanitation; describes why many developing countries fail to provide essential services; and suggests ways of achieving the necessary goals in these three sectors. The focus then turns to South Africa, and the paper analyses policy development and implementation in the education and health sectors during the first decade of democracy. He concludes with recommendations for strengthening policy implementation in these two sectors.