South Africa: Returning Sick -- HIV, Illness, Death and Migration
April 15, 2009
While migration in South Africa is commonly thought of as rural to urban, the number of ill or seriously ill HIV/AIDS patients who return home to the rural Eastern Cape from Cape Town indicates the traffic goes both ways.
There is also a strong tradition of urban migrants being buried at their rural homesteads. Bus driver Ryan Xazana, who makes the 16-hour haul from Philippi in Cape Town to the Eastern Cape, said many of the terminally ill are sent via bus because their relatives would rather pay $40 for a fare rather than the $700 it could cost for an undertaker to transport the body back to the Eastern Cape. One such patient died during the journey, he said.
David Neves of the Center for Social Science Research at the University of Cape Town said risk and vulnerability exist in both rural and urban locations. Research conducted in 2008 shows a "multiplicity of factors" are driving return migration, including loss of urban residence, a desire to free one's urban family from the burden of disease, and being fetched by rural kin.
Inter Press Service
04.07.2009; Siyabonga Kalipa; Brenda Nkuna
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.