Three Major Health Issues Affecting South Africa

Most people might regard South Africa is one of the countries in the world where they can go and spend their holidays due to the healthy climate within that country. The beautiful oceans and the magnificent climate is something that most of the South Africans are proud of. However, on the contrary, most of the citizens in South Africa lag behind due to lack of good healthcare. Currently, the primary concerns within the healthcare sector include the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Additionally, the country battles with the high prevalence rates of diseases such as tuberculosis that are caused by smoking. The smoking related diseases are believed to be of a high prevalence amongst the non-whites residents as compared to the white’s population.

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The health care nature in the rural areas of South Africa has been moving from bad to worse over the years due to the lack of better treatment facilities. In some areas, the access to treatment facilities such as hospitals and clinic centers becomes difficult to poor road network and also due to lack of finances. Statistics show that the current rate of mortality stands at about six times higher than what is experienced in most of the developed nations. Empirical figures show that close to 5.5 million citizens in South Africa are infected with HIV/AIDS. That figure is approximately 10.6% of the total population in South Africa. Out of that total population, it is estimated that 17% of them are adults while the rest of the percentage consists of young teenagers and small kids.  A big majority of those living with the disease are found within the rural set-ups. The deaths rate in the rural areas has been extremely high over the years due to the reasons that have already been mentioned above.

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Understaffed health facilities

One of the biggest challenges that the country has been facing over the years is the understaffing of their health facilities. Most of the qualified health personnel’s prefer to seek for employment in the private sectors rather than working in the public sectors that pay low salaries. In a similar fashion, the government boasts of generating close to fourteen billion dollars in form of taxes from the medical professionals working in countries abroad. That huge figure clearly shows that there is a large number of qualified medical personnel who work in other countries apart from their motherland. If only the government could offer them better salaries and remuneration, then maybe the healthcare sector could have had a big change. Moreover, the remittances made by the professional working abroad should be put into productive use by the government so as to help the locals. The government however, seem to be embezzling the funds collected in form of taxation rather than using it to but modern equipment’s.

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If the authorities would have been serious about improving the health sector in South Africa, then they would be buying new ambulances to ferry the sick to the hospital. Since the funds remitted as tax is being embezzled by the government of the day, most of the health professionals prefer working within the private sectors. The current ratio shows that every single doctor in South Africa gets to attend to between three thousand seven hundred and seven to forty nine thousands patients.  That ratio is so high compared to what happens in the developed nations where a single doctor attends to between two hundred and fifty nine to five hundred patients. Such discrepancy is what has led to the ever increasing gap of the life expectancy that currently stands at forty nine years of age as compared to 73 in the developed nations.

Poor maternal health

The health status of most mothers together with their children in South Africa has been extremely poor over the years due to lack of proper modern qualifications and the will to take good care of them. Reports from the World health organization show that there is a very high rate of maternal mortality in South Africa as compared to any other country in South Africa. Currently, the ratio stands at three hundred and ten deaths for every one hundred thousand live births experienced in South Africa. Similarly, the organization collected data from the mortality rates that were experienced during the year 2010. That particular set of data revealed that there were forty one deaths experienced for every one thousands live births for those who were aged one and below.

In a similar fashion, the mortality rate for those aged between one and five was at fifty seven deaths for every one thousand live births. Such figures are very discouraging especially for a big country like South Africa where one expects the healthcare system to be functioning at its best. Credits however have to be given to the public hospitals for the efforts that they are taking to n curb the spread of HIV/ AIDS. The current situation allows the pregnant mothers to go through a voluntary HIV testing in order to ascertain their status. Those who are found to be positive are taken through a counseling session and put on anti-retroviral drugs. Such a therapy works to prevent the transmission of the disease from the mother to the unborn child. Additionally, the health care centers offer a number of services and healthcare support to both the mother and their infants.

Adult risk factors

A number of risk factors that cause major health problems in South Africa do exist and have to be tackled as they occur.  One of the risk factors is the raised blood glucose among the adults. Statistics from the world health organization shows that close to twenty percent of the male adult population in South Africa face the raised blood glucose problem. Out of that figure, only eight percent of the male adults are likely to experience the problem in an area covered by the world health organization. The percentage of women who face the raised blood glucose problems is higher as compared to their male counter parts. Nine percent of women who live within the regions that are covered by the world health organization face the problem while eleven percent of them face it in regions that are not covered by the organization.

The number of male adults that struggle with obesity is however low as compared to their female counterparts. Currently, close to twenty three percent of the male have an obesity problem as compared to forty three percent of their female counterparts? Finally, the tobacco based problem has been one of the killer diseases in the region with estimates showing that twenty eight percent of the South African male dies as a result of tobacco usage. Similarly, it is estimated that eight percent of the female citizens die as a result of the use of tobacco.


As a result of the already mentioned healthcare problems that face South Africa, the government in collaboration with the citizens has a long way to battle the problems that faces the nation. To begin with, the government must acts with speed and revives more than one hundred nursing colleges in the whole country. An increase in nurses across the entire country will improve the provision of healthcare services to the patients. The government also has to find a way in which it going to conduct an upgrading and renovation program for the hospitals so as to improve on their standards. An upgrading program will also include the provision of reproductive health rights as well as issuing of contraceptives to be used during sexual intercourse.

The government of South Africa through the health department will have to ensure that it widens the coverage area of the provision of anti-retroviral treatment to all the HIV positive patients. Since the country has a very large population, it may not be possible for the current number of nurses to provide adequate healthcare services for all the citizens. The government must therefore find a way of recruiting and training more than 1.3 million community workers who will help in the provision of the healthcare services.  The prevention measures that have already been started must be encouraged and supported at all costs. For instance, the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs must be continued in order to protect the future generations. Additionally, the voluntary, medical male circumcision programs must be encouraged at all costs.

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