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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  20 Nov 2009

HEALTH: South Africans Life Expectancy Crisis


Recent Gauteng Business News

International comparisons show that the average South African will not live longer than 50 years. South Africa was one of only six out of a group of 37 developed and developing countries that had a decreasing life expectancy between 1990 and 2007. South Africa's life expectancy decreased from 62 years in 1990, to 50 years in 2007. Only Zimbabwe had a worse trend for life expectancy.

Statistics released by the South African Institute of Race Relations in the annual South Africa Survey show that in 2009 the average life expectancy at birth for South Africans was 51 years.

Between 2001 and 2006 the life expectancy at birth was 51 years fro males and 55 years for females. This is expected to decrease between 2006 and 2011 to 48 years for males and 51 years for females.

Kwazulu-Natal had the lowest life expectancy at birth in 2009 at 43 years, followed by the Free State and Mpumalanga at 47 years each. These three provinces also had some of the highest HIV prevalence rates. International comparisons also show that in 2007, only Mozambique and Zimbabwe had lower rates of males and females that would survive past 65.

Ms Gail Eddy a researcher and the institute, said that, “These figures show that South Africa is one of a handful of countries in the world that has had a decreasing life expectancy over the past 17 years. This decrease is related to the high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the country. South Africa's life expectancy and survival to age 65 figures are in the same league as countries such as Zimbabwe which has gone through tremendous political upheavals and economic decline over the past decade.
“If one had to compare South Africa to other countries of similar economic size and political stability, it is clear that South Africa is lagging far behind. These figures highlight the extent to which HIV/AIDS has affected the quality of life of South Africans.

“They also raise pertinent questions about the ability of the public healthcare system to improve the health and life spans of South Africans.””

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