Figuring out what needs to be done

Last week, when I opened the newspapers, I found a list of very interesting figures.

It is easy to talk in generalisations, but seeing actual figures is the next best thing to putting faces to those numbers. The challenges we are facing become more tangible.

These numbers challenge each one of us to look more closely at what we are doing. Is there anywhere here that we can make a difference? Do you have any skills or information or abilities that are relevant?

You’ll see that some of the numbers are negative, and others are reassuring. In many ways we are on the right path and I am encouraged by that.

Public health in numbers

  • 5,7m people in SA are living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • 324 307 people in SA are infected by HIV every year.
  • 2002 was the peak year for deaths of infants and children under five, most likely due to the HIV/Aids epidemic, which continued to grow throughout this period.
  • 5 in 1 000 children under the age of five are malnourished.
  • 76% is the rate by which voluntary medical circumcision can reduce men’s risk of acquiring HIV from female partners, research says.
  • 12 508 is the number of doc¬tors employed in the public sector, looking after a population of around 40m.
  • 8 921 is the estimated number of SA doctors working abroad, 41% of them in the UK.
  • 795 per 100 000 people in SA are suffering from tuberculosis.
  • 961 is the total number of women who died in 2011 as a result of childbearing, during pregnancy, or within 42 days of delivery or termination of pregnancy. The fig¬ure is down from 1 305 in 1990.
  • 61% of South Africans are over¬weight, obese, or morbidly obese.
  • R140bn is the consolidated na¬tional and provincial health budget for the 2013/2014 financial year.
  • 794% is the rate at which health expenditure has grown since 1994.

Source: 2012 SAIRR survey

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