Published On Jan 30, 2015
20 Years After Apartheid
In the 1980s physician Miguel Ribeiro took stunning photographs of his South African patients. How has the nation’s health care fared in the years since?
Physician and photographer Miguel Ribeiro practiced in South Africa in the 1980s. He photographed ailments he saw among the poor—including this woman with lymphedema, characterized by fluid buildup and extreme swelling. In many ways, South Africa is a different country since apartheid fell 20 years ago. But a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that health care in the country needs radical changes. The disparity of care between wealthy and poor is extremely wide and getting wider. Physicians are leaving the country in record numbers, and South African epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis are among the worst in the world.