HIV/AIDS Is Top Killer of Pregnant Women in South Africa
March 14, 2003
HIV/AIDS has become the leading cause of death among pregnant women in South Africa, surpassing high blood pressure complications, a report released last Friday by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang disclosed.
The report, "Saving Mothers 1999-2001," was commissioned by the health ministry four years ago because of growing concern about rising maternal deaths. It states that close to 3,000 maternal deaths were recorded between 1999 and 2001. This puts the maternal mortality ratio at 150 per 100,000 live births.
Non-pregnancy related infections were the number one killer, accounting for 31.4 percent of maternal deaths during the period. AIDS-related infections made up 17 percent of the deaths. Professor Jack Moodley, who led the study, says this figure could be higher because HIV status was tested in only 36.4 percent of the 2,777 cases.
Tshabalala-Msimang said the government will extend its voluntary counseling and HIV-testing services to help infected pregnant women.
The report has resulted in a number of recommendations being made to the health department, including:
03.09.03; Sunday Times (Johannesburg)
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.