Johannesburg: a city of two tales
Shazad Aslam went to Soweto for his elective. Precautions against HIV are rigid for healthcare workers, and almost half the population is infected. He explains how he felt working in this dangerous neighbourhood
Johannesburg is one of the largest and most affluent cities in South Africa, attracting many immigrants from the surrounding areas in search of wealth and prosperity. The skyline shows off impressive buildings, large shopping malls, and man made mountains made from excavating land in search of gold and other minerals.
The many hospitals in Johannesburg range from the wealthy private hospitals to the poor government hospitals. I spent my time at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital (Bara for short) in Soweto, working in surgery and trauma medicine.
Most middle class and some working class individuals pay insurance for health, termed “medical aid,” which the poor can't generally afford. There are limitations on what funds buy, and if the money runs out, patients often have to move to a state hospital. State hospitals also charge. Fees are usually based on the patient's income and marital status and range from Rand 13-194 (£1.07-15.50;