Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
HIV/AIDS Epidemic Expected to ‘Batter’ South African Economy
South Africa Finance Minister Trevor Manuel predicted
yesterday that the "rampant" spread of HIV/AIDS would "batter"
the nation's economy, although he could not estimate "how badly,"
the Associated Press reports. "Increased morbidity
and death will have an impact on labor productivity and available
human resources to further economic growth. The loss of
breadwinners will destabilize households, reduce household income
and increase health care costs and intensify poverty," Manuel
said in a report to Parliament, adding that the AIDS pandemic
would also hurt savings and investment. He concluded, "The
trajectory of the disease will depend crucially on the policy
responses and reactions of government and business over the next
few years." According to a
report released in July by ING-Barings, South Africa's gross
domestic product will drop 4.7% by 2011. Earlier Wednesday, the
South African government "came under fire" from Parliament's
finance committee for "inadequately budgeting" for HIV/AIDS. The
South African Press Association reports that
committee Chair Barbara Hogan accused the government of not
having an "integrated response" to the epidemic (Cohen,
Associated Press, 11/1). Under the Medium Term
Economic Framework released Monday, the South African government
would allocate $20 million for national and provincial AIDS
prevention programs in 2000-2001, which include life-skills
training in schools, expanded access to voluntary counseling and
testing, alternative care programs and community outreach.
"Allocations for AIDS prevention programs and for piloting
special care programs are critical. These will reduce the rates
of infection and develop alternative and more affordable care,"
Manuel said, adding that the government would increase AIDS
spending to $40 million in 2003-2004 (Harvey,
WOZA/AllAfrica.com, 10/31). However, Ken Andrew of the
opposition Democratic Alliance said that the government
"could not expect" provincial health services to fight the
disease with their budgets, noting that HIV patients already
occupy between 40% and 50% of hospital beds (Associated
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