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Realising the right of access to maternal health care services for refugee women in South Africa.

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South Africa hosts a large population of refugees from Africa and beyond. These refugees come to the country with their different needs. Some of the needs are gender-specific and require the realisation of specific human rights for them to be met. Refugee women require maternal health care services. South Africa has a number of policies and legislation aimed at protecting the rights of refugees, women, as well as the right to health. Furthermore, South Africa is a signatory of various human rights instruments relating to (amongst other things), refugee women and health care. Regardless of the international instruments, legislation and policies in place, there still exists a gap between policy and practice which makes it difficult for refugee women to access maternal health care services. Through the use of various literature, this thesis provides a discussion on the components of health care and defines what access to maternal health care is. It exposes the barriers faced by refugee women in South Africa’s public health care system. The thesis provides an analysis of the numerous human rights instruments relating to refugees, health and women. It scrutinises South African domestic policies and legislation relating to maternal health care services. Landmark cases on the access to maternal health care services and other socio-economic rights are discussed in the thesis. In the final chapter, recommendations are made on how the maternal health care services for refugee women may be fully realised.


LL.M. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 2015.


Refugees -- Medical care -- South Africa., Maternal health services -- South Africa., Right to health -- South Africa., Theses -- Law.