African conditions and circumstances present specific challenges to health service providers. These conditions have implications for primary health care (PHC), including problems of communication (geographical, educational and cultural), maldistribution of health manpower, political unrest and wars. Local PHC services must compete with the prestige of and faith in the hospitals. Manpower training should be stressed at all levels of education of all medical and paramedical personnel. The status of PHC in the Republic of South Africa is now well recognized, and provision of the required services has a high priority.