Health: SA ranks lowest of Brics members

2012-07-30 21:57
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi (File, Sapa)

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - South Africa fares worse on health than the residents of any other Brics country, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Monday.

On aggregate, standard health indicators show South Africa is worse than Brazil, Russia, India and China, he said in Winterton in KwaZulu-Natal.

The average South African was expected to live until 54, while the Chinese could live to the age of 74, Brazilians to 73, Russians 68, and Indians 65.

Infant mortality in South Africa stood at 43 deaths per 1 000 live births, and 62 children out of every 1 000 would not make it to their fifth birthday.

Only India had worse figures, at 50 and 66 deaths per 1 000 respectively.

By comparison, Brazil and China had an infant mortality rate of 17 deaths per 1 000 live births, and Russia of 11 deaths per 1 000.

Only 12 out every 1 000 Russians would not live to see their fifth birthday.

Maternal mortality ratios and adult mortality rates made for bleak reading. According to Motsoaledi's presentation, on average 410 South African mothers out of 100 000 died during pregnancy or childbirth.

In India that figure was 230, in Brazil 58, in Russia 39, and 38 in China.

According to Motsoaledi's figures, 521 out of every 1 000 South African men aged 15 to 59 die before turning 60.

In China, that figure was 142, Brazil 205 and India 250. Russia came closest to South Africa at 391.

Motsoaledi said the number of people who died annually in South Africa almost doubled between 1997 and 2006, going from 317 131 to 612 462.

Many of South Africa's dire mortality statistics could be attributed to communicable diseases, especially HIV and tuberculosis.

Compared to its Brics partners, South Africa had the worst figures.

Only Brazil spent more than South Africa's 8.5% of gross domestic product on health.

South Africa fared fairly well in curbing smoking.

Russia, China, and India all had greater percentages of tobacco smoking in men older than 15 than South Africa's 29.5%.

In Russia, 70.1% of men over the age of 15 were smokers.

Brazil had the best figures, with only 19.4% of men smoking.

Most of the health indicator figures quoted by Motsoaledi were the most recent available and were for 2010.

- SAPA

Read more on:    brics  |  india  |  brazil  |  russia  |  china  |  sa  |  health
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