SA Medical care

I finally broke down and made an appointment with a South African doctor. We have international insurance through P’s work, so it was a matter of figuring out which doctors were ‘in-plan’ and how to navigate the South African medical network. An ex-pat friend has the same insurance carrier as we do and told me that we can essentially see any doctor, we just have to submit the bills for reimbursement.  So I pulled the trigger and called a doctor that came recommended. For those that don’t know South Africa has a public health system.  You know that thing that almost every other country except the US has.

I admit I was hesitant to seek out a doctor while here, but Holy Hell,  it was fast, efficient and quality care. I called on a Monday to see when they could fit me in, thinking it would a week or so out. The nurse initially offered a same day appointment. (What?!?!  How is this even a thing?).  In the US I would have to wait for a minimum of a week, usually 2-3 to get in for something minor.  A yearly check-up was usually 90+ days out. The nurse and I eventually agreed on a Wednesday appointment.

Wednesday came and the doctor pulled me from the waiting room on time. He met with me for 30 mins and wrote me a prescription for my blood pressure. He then asked me to get fasting labs done the next day (Thursday) and to show up the day after that (Friday) so he could discuss the results with me and verify the meds were working as expected. No appointment was needed for the lab work or the follow-up.

All told the office visit, medications, and lab work only cost about $160.  The kicker is that is without insurance and at a private doctor, not a public clinic.  Since we have international insurance, we’ll submit the three bills and get likely get reimbursed for a portion or all. The last time I saw a doctor in the US I paid over $100 for the office visit alone.

Score 1 for South Africa. There network of basic coverage for everyone and enhanced care for others that choose it seems to work out really damn well. Per WikipediaIn South Africa, private and public health systems exist in parallel. The public system serves the vast majority of the population but is chronically underfunded and understaffed. The wealthiest 20% of the population use the private system and are far better served.

Ciao for now,


Cape Town Weather

We just got back from a trip to the states. While in the states one of the questions we were asked was about the Cape Town weather.  So I guess it’s a good topic for a blog post.

It was great to be back in Wisconsin to see the start of fall. I had forgotten how beautiful fall colors are.  In Cape Town, we are now shifting into Spring.  Thankfully we received lots of rain so there is a lot of green around.

This past year reservoir levels went from a low of around 20% to a high of 76%. This was due to rainy winter and decreased usage. In the Midwestern US, winter typically brings cold and snow. Cape Town’s “warm summer Mediterranean climate” was certainly a switch from the humid continental climate I was used to.

The coldest it got was around 46°f/8°c. The hotest we experienced last summer was 93°f/34°c. This will be our first full summer here so we are looking forward to seeing how things evolve this year.

So far it seems that a fair comparison would be to say that Cape Town doesn’t really have a winter (at least by Wisconsin standards), but it definitely has a summer. I’m certianly not missing shoveling snow off the driveway and being attacked by swarms of mosquitos. But I do miss having a proper winter.

Thanks for reading.  We’ll be back with another update soon.