AIDS-Related Deaths in South Africa to Total Five Million by 2010, Medical Research Council Says
The Medical Research Council of South Africa on Tuesday told Parliament's Arts, Culture, Science and Technology committee that the cumulative number of deaths from AIDS-related causes in South Africa would reach five million by 2010, based on projections from the Actuarial Society of South Africa, Business Day reports. Council member Debbie Bradshaw said that the number of AIDS-related deaths would "dramatically" increase the number of AIDS orphans - from 200,000 currently to almost two million between 2010 and 2014. Bradshaw added that the increase in AIDS-related deaths in the country would affect business, government and the economy in South Africa. "There will be a very direct cost to companies in terms of absenteeism, the loss of skills, lower productivity and overtime costs - where healthy staff have to work extra to make up for sick co-workers," Bradshaw said. The health sector would be among the "hardest hit" by the number of people dying from AIDS-related illnesses, with HIV-positive patients occupying "many" hospital beds and the number of HIV-positive patients coinfected with tuberculosis "explo[ding]." According to Business Day, the educational sector will also be greatly affected, with more teachers dying than there are trained replacements and a "significant" dropout rate among children who are forced to work or care for HIV-positive relatives. In addition, the MRC said that HIV/AIDS programs are most effective when they are implemented at the local government level and concluded that protection of such services and maintenance of "good governance" locally is "essential" (Hartley, Business Day, 9/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.