Current Institutional Affiliation
Phd Candidate, South African Research Chair in Social Policy, University of South Africa

Kimberley Usher is a doctoral candidate with the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARCHI) in Social Policy, hosted by the Archie Mafeje Research Institute at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Born and raised in Zimbabwe to a strong, African, single mother of two – who herself was raised by a strong African, single mother of nine – the value of education as a means of overcoming poverty was emphasized from childhood. After completing a Bachelor of Social Sciences at Rhodes University, she was awarded a bursary under the Transformative Social Policy Program to complete her Honors degree and achieve a family dream. The research portion of the Honors program, and a series of avoidable health tragedies ignited a passion for research, specifically research into health reform in Africa. This passion led to awards from the SARCHI Chair in Social Policy and the National Research Foundation (NSR) to complete a Master of Arts at UNISA entitled “The Politics of Health Care Reform – a Comparative Analysis of South Africa, Sweden and Canada.” Ms. Usher is currently living in Pretoria where she continues research into health reform as a SARCHI doctoral fellow. She is an ardent Chelsea FC supporter; proud Next Gen fellow, and eager African scholar encouraged every day to walk the path set by our strong African mothers.

Award Information

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowship 2019
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
South African Research Chair in Social Policy, University of South Africa
The political economy of healthcare reform in South Africa: the case of the National Health Insurance Scheme

South Africa is in the process health reform as the Government has undertaken the task of providing universal health care (uhc) to all South Africans through the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHI) outlined in The NHI Bill gazetted on June 2018. History shows previous attempts at uhc reform which have failed. This begs investigation into the political economies of health reform in the South Africa, paying attention to the changing nature of policy contestations and the politics of compromise within the evolution and progression of health policies in South Africa. This study seeks to examine the attempts at uhc reform and identify recurring social, economic and political factors that have impeded its implementation up to this point. This will involve taking an in-depth look into ideological differences and opposition, the economic systems in place, the social actors involved, and the power resources activated to assert their interests.