Health matters worsen in KwaZulu-Natal
Despite spending slightly more than the national average on health per person, a number of KwaZulu-Natal’s key health indicators are getting worse.
In the past year, the TB cure rate plunged 10% from 2003, with around one out of every three TB patients being cured in 2004.
Despite being the province with the highest HIV rate, KZN’s measures to prevent new infections and to care for those who are HIV positive are getting worse.
The number of pregnant women tested for HIV at antenatal clinics in 2005 has plunged by a massive 20% to 44%.
Only 60% of HIV positive pregnant women were given the anti-AIDS drug, nevirapine, which cuts transmission of the virus from mothers to their babies. This is a 13% drop from 2003, when 73% of women in need got nevirapine.
KwaZulu-Natal residents have the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections in the country, and there has been little improvement in condom distribution, which can help cut the transmission of such infections.
The stillbirth rate of 31 babies born dead per 1000 births is second highest in the country, while the Caesarean rate of almost a quarter of births is the highest in the country. Both could be the result of the high HIV infection rate.
On a positive note, the province is doing well with baby immunisation. Some 92% of babies are immunised and there is a low dropout rate.