The Fall of the Bamboo Curtain: A Review of Complementary Medicine in South Africa

  • KS Caldis
  • HD Mcleod
  • PR Smith


This paper considers the increased interest in and usage of complimentary medicine. The movement is being led worldwide, not by healthcare professionals or the funders of healthcare, but by consumers. In South Africa, a pilot study was undertaken in 1999 to identify existing sources of data and collate information as an initial baseline of the practice of and interest in complimentary medicine. This paer summarises the findings of that study. The legal framework of for the practice of complementary medicine in Sout Africa is described, the range of therapies is given and the number of practitioners estimated. First indications of the use of by consumers and the coverage by medical schemes are reported. An introduction to to the status of African traditional medicine is given. Resources for the actuary wishing to gain more understanding of this consumer-driven movement are suggested.

KEYWORDS: Healthcare; complementary medicine; alternative medicine, traditional medicine; medical schemes

South African Actuarial Journal: 2001 1: 63-95

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-2179
print ISSN: 977-1680-2170-02