Poverty is the underlying cause of child deaths in South Africa, according to a recent study released by the Medical Research Council. But other sub-Saharan African countries, with less money and fewer resources, have managed to cut their child mortality rates. A recent study in The Lancet reported that deaths in children under age five have been dropping in Tanzania, where between 2000 and 2004 child mortality dropped by 24 percent. During this period, the Tanzanian government increased the annual amount spent on healthcare per citizen from 4.70 to 11.70 (about R36 to R89,60). The money was also evenly distributed across the country, rather than favouring richer districts.
SA is making no progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing deaths among mothers and children under the age of five, warns a new report. The report raises the question why, despite its resources, SA is doing so badly. About 10,5% of the governments total spending (R716bn) is earmarked for health (R75,5bn), yet SA is one of the worst performers among the 68 countries assessed for the report because of their high death rates. SA is one of only 12 countries with rising child mortality rates, which climbed 15% between 1990 and 2006, from 60 to 69 deaths per 1000 live births. Maternal deaths remained constant at 400 per 100000 live births.
Three committees dealing with maternal mortality, perinatal mortality and infant mortality were launched at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park on Monday by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. The improvement of the health of women and children has always been a priority in the healthcare planning of our democratic government, Tshabalala-Msimang said. While the perinatal and infant mortality committees are new, the maternal mortality committee, already in existence, has new members, the minister said.
The reluctance of local doctors to serve at rural hospitals has forced the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department to again recruit doctors from Cuba following the signing of a new agreement with that country.
The African Ministers of Health have adopted the African Union Plan of Action for universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services in Africa by 2015.
Speech by the Minister of Health - Saving Mothers Report on Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in
It gives me a great pleasure to address you this morning as we discuss the critical issue of the health of mothers in our country. This is one of the groundbreaking work that we have been involved in as country. I do not know of any other developing country that do not only record maternal deaths, but goes on to investigate the causes with the aim of preventing these unfortunate incidents.
Health Systems Trust
Reduction of mortality and morbidity of both the mother and the newborn have been identified as priority areas needing urgent attention by the Department of Health. The maternal mortality ratio for South Africa was estimated in the South African Demographic and Health Survey of 1998 to be 150/100 000 births. This rate is however, thought to be rising, as the estimate from the latest Saving Mothers Report places the estimate at 175-200/100 000 births. The extent of morbidity is not known but it is estimated that for every woman that dies of a pregnancy related complication, 20 more suffer from morbidity such as vesico-vaginal fistulae which may be severe and lead to long term disabilities.
Dakar - Significant progress has been made in sub-Saharan Africa toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the World Bank said in the third annual edition of its world MDGs follow-up report presented on Wednesday in Dakar.
At a time when people in the developed world are enjoying longer lives, citizens of the world's poorest countries (LDCs) are still expecting to live comparatively short lives.