SA was ranked 119 out of 195 countries in the Healthcare Access and Quality Index published by medical journal Lancet on Friday.
This placed SA one rank below Namibia.
SA received a score of 52 points.
The country with the best score, Andorra, received 95 followed by 94 for Iceland and 92 for Switzerland.
Central African Republic received the worst score of 29, with Afghanistan and Somalia rounding off the bottom three, with scores of 32 and 34 respectively.
Although SA was ranked in the bottom half, the researchers rated it among the countries that had improved their healthcare access and quality the most in the 25 years between 1990 and 2015. While the report was released in 2017, the most recent data dates back two years. Lancet releases the index every five years.
SA’s score improved from 46 in 1990 to 52 in the latest report, the research showed.
The index has 30 constituents. SA’s lowest score was 23 for nonmelanoma skin cancer, followed by 24 for both tuberculosis and lower respiratory infections.
SA’s best score was 98 for diptheria, followed by 95 for tetanus.
"Several countries, particularly in eastern and western sub-Saharan Africa, reached index values similar to or beyond their development levels, whereas others, namely in southern sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, lagged behind what geographies of similar development attained between 1990 and 2015," the report said.