Tuesday, September 12, 2006
AIDS in South Africa
by Edward Hugh
The New York Times had an article last week about the alarming way mortality rates in South Africa have been rising in recent years. As can be seen from the graphic death rates for adults of virtually all ages and both sexes rose sharply from 1997 to 2004, among some groups by a factor of four or more.
Now as the NYT point out AIDS is not reported as a cause of death in South Africa. But the age patterns of the increased deaths and their reported causes — in many cases parasitic infections, immune disorders and maternal conditions — make it likely that AIDS and ailments related to H.I.V. were behind much of the trend. The report from the SA statistical office on which this information is based seems to leave little doubt that South Africa, with the largest number of H.I.V.-positive citizens of any nation, faces an AIDS problem on a huge scale. Among other significant details which have become apparent the death rate among women in the 30-34 age range was 4.6 times higher in 2004 than in it was 1997 (leaping in the process) to nearly 23 per 1,000, while the death rate among men in the 40-44 age group more than doubled, to nearly 28 per 1,000.
At the same time, according to the latest data set from the Population Reference Bureau, fertility in South Africa is around 2.8 TFR and falling steadily (the CIA give a 2.2TFR figure) and will soon be below replacement level, while total population is already falling at 0.4% per year.
The expession "growing old before growing rich" has been used extensively of late, but it may be that South Africa will never grow either old or rich, at least following the current path it won't, and that's for sure.
So following Claus's recent point about what is happening in Russia, we seem to be able to identify two groups of countries, one in Eastern Europe, and the other in Africa, who have become detached from the 'pack' in a very meaningful sense. What we urgently need is a theoretical framework in both economic and social theory which enables us to better understand the processes at work here.
Posted by Admin at 7:01 AM