The suppressive policies and practices of apartheid in South Africa have directly contributed to preventable morbidity and mortality in black Africans. Due to socioeconomic segregation ("functional apartheid"), America's citizens of color also suffer excess death and disability. Health status measurements in the United States confirm the failure of the current fragmented health care system to recognize or respond to the unmet need or the barriers that exist. Predictably, the changes needed to improve the health status of black South Africans are similar to those that are necessary to remedy the situation in the United States. Community-Oriented Primary Care is a health service provision model that holds promise as a comprehensive community-based strategy that can begin to address some of the shortcomings of the current medical care systems of both nations.