South Africa: a Country with a High Adult and Infant Mortality Rate – Social&Family Issues Example

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"South Africa: a Country with a High Adult and Infant Mortality Rate" is a delightful example of a paper on social and family issues. South Africa is the country of choice for this particular essay. South Africa is a fascinating nation given the population structure and composition. The history of South Africa of the apartheid and the fight against discrimination makes one more curious to try to follow up on the development after the political and social adjustments. The history of discrimination in South Africa was over social amenities. Health care and nursing is one social amenity that had high social discrimination.

The essay focuses on South Africa as a country of high adult and infant mortality rates. Location and Geography South Africa is a country in the southern part of Africa covering 1.2 million square kilometers. About two-thirds of the border forms a beach with Indian and Atlantic oceans.   The country extends from the southern border of Namibia to the subtropical border of Mozambique. Other countries that share borders with South Africa include Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Lesotho. The general assumption is that South Africa is arid but the climate and topography vary across the vast country.

The area around the plateau of Karoo is dry and worsened by the northwest desert of Kalahari. The coastline to the east is fertile with adequate rainfall. The country also experiences two seasons of winter and summer (Frankental, Sichone, & ABC-Clio Information Services, 2005). Population The population of South Africa is a three racial class made up of the whites (Dutch), the Bantu, and colored (Sibanda, Udjo, Zuberi, & South Africa, 2005). Most of the people live in the subtropical areas of the coast of the Indian Ocean and the mining areas like Johannesburg.

Especially the nomadic Khoisan sparsely populates the western semi-arid part. In 2004, the estimated population of the South Africans was at 46.6million, a majority being the natives of about 73 percent. The country still uses apartheid racial grouping with elements of segregation, and efforts to abolish the form of class requires a keen check on the social trend such as education, fertility, mortality, and health statistics. Larger sections of the population prefer to identify themselves with religion such as Christianity, Islam, and Hindu faiths.

Languages such as English, Afrikaans, Pedi, Sotho, Ndebele, Swazi, Tswana, Zulu, and Xhosa also form the basis of classification (Frankental, Sichone, & ABC-Clio Information Services, 2005). Government During the apartheid regime, the government system of South Africa was pure of white-dominated. The country adopted a new system of democratic governance with regular elections after every five years following the end of the apartheid regime in 1994. Currently, the country has nine provinces each with its own assembly and an executive arm. The country has a president as the head of state.

Nelson Mandela was the first elected African President following the abolition of the apartheid rule to allow for democratic elections. The legislature is bicameral parliament with a national assembly and the national council of provinces representing regional interests such as culture, ethnicity, customs, linguistics, and diversity in the population. The legal system derives its principles from the English common law and Roman-Dutch law. The system allows for customary laws provided they are not against the constitution (Frankental, Sichone, & ABC-Clio Information Services, 2005). Economy Agriculture and mining are the backbones of the economy of South Africa.

The arable land, which is about 12 percent allows for the cultivation of permanent and other crops. However, the agricultural land has increased due to irrigation activities over the arid lands and prolonged droughts. The development in agriculture makes the country a leading capitalist farming nation with leading experts in agriculture. South Africa has a rich reserve of minerals. Most of the world’ s gold, platinum, gem diamonds, and other valuable metals come from South Africa.

The country is also doing well in terms of business. It has one of the most, industrialized economies due to abundant natural resources, well-developed financial, communication, transport, legal, and energy systems (Frankental, Sichone, & ABC-Clio Information Services, 2005). State Of Health (Dieses, Violence, and Accidents) The public health sector has achieved significant progress in availing a more equitable expenditure, duration of access, and health management. However, there is a shift in the progress due to the increased burden because of HIV/AIDS, low morale of the staff, and weak systems of management. The outcome is poor health services and increased expenditure.

HIIV/AIDS is the leading course of death among the population especially infants and teenagers. About 3.5 million individuals seek health care following the trauma of traffic injuries, social violence, and external assault. The frequency of sexual assault and rape is high. Most cases of fatalities are from traffic accidents and other external causes. The trend in traffic accidents, intimate partner violence, and homicides has links with increased alcohol abuse. Tobacco smoking and alcohol remain to be mostly abused drugs among the residents of South Africa (Harrison, & South Africa, 2010). Culture and Traditional Medicine South Africa is a country made of people from various cultural backgrounds with religion and beliefs.

Most people practice mixed beliefs, for instance, a Christian individual consulting with ancestral spirits over life issues. A majority uphold traditional beliefs such as the existence of one Supreme Being who is the creator and custodian of human life. Individuals pay homage to the ancestral spirits with ceremonies and rituals to appease them. In cases of illness, individuals still consult with traditional healers called isangoma who talk to the ancestors on behalf of the sick.

Sick persons may also see herbalist (inyanga) who herbs to treat pains and aches. Currently, there is an association between the traditional (Clark, 2009). Healthcare System and Delivery The Healthcare System of South Africa is widely overused and under-resourced and a better-funded and equipped private health facilities. The public healthcare facilities cater to about 85% of South Africa’ s population while the remaining 15% seek health services in private facilities. The public healthcare facilities receive 40% of health funds while 60% are dedicated to the private sectors that offer services to the limited middle class and high-earning members due to the high premiums they attract.

Most of the government funds cater to AIDS patients. Various governmental health-related agencies and non-governmental organizations work in synchrony to ensure proper health service to the residence. Some of the organizations that are South African based include the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation that deals with HIV research, prevention, treatment, and training of health care personnel. Health system Trust is an NGO to provide support in transforming the healthcare system. (‘ SA Health Info’ 2015).

Other organizations working in South Africa include CDC which partners with the government of South Africa and related sectors to prevent HIV transmission, treatment, and care. The process involved epidemiology training, research guidelines, and support TB and HIV programs (CDC, 2015). Other international organizations include UNICEF, WHO, and UNAIDS. Healthcare personnel in South Africa include the doctors and nurses who work in both the private and public hospitals. However, the nation faces a sharp shortage of health providers in the public sector. The ratio of nurses and doctors to that of the public is overwhelming.

The poor working condition of health employees had made a majority of doctors and nurses migrate from the state in search of better life creating a deficit and further enlarging the gap between the public and healthcare providers (Harrison, & South Africa, 2010). Health Priorities The state has a priority to improve efficiency equity and standards of health care. The focus is on high-quality care programs on HIV/AIDS, STI, and TB treatment and care. The government also prioritizes the need to increase the number of health workers and better remuneration.

The government also aims at training more health workers, hold national campaigns implication the significance of health workers, both subordinate and the management staff.   Other health priorities involve expansion and improvement to cope with the population increase. Revitalization programs for hospitals and improve immunization programs to reduce infant mortality (Harrison, & South Africa, 2010). Nursing Implications Nursing implications include proper care of HIV/AIDS patients to improve their living standards. Nurses also should carry out regular immunizations on young children. The nurses should also advocate for the government to employ more health providers and improve their working conditions.

They should also lobby for the creation of public awareness on the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Lastly, the nurses should encourage the patients to take the ART regimen and seek prompt medical attention in cases of illnesses. Conclusion In summary, South Africa is located in the south of Africa. Has a population of about 46.6 million people comprising whites Africans and the colored. The country is well off economically due to mining and agriculture. The country has a high mortality rate for infants and adults following HIV/AIDS.

Poor healthcare in public hospitals is because of a few nurses and doctors. The problem is due to poor working conditions and lack of government support. However international health organizations such as CDC and WHO are working round the clock to help the government manage HIV/AIDS.


CDC Global Health-South Africa. (2015, April 26) What CDC Is Doing In South Africa. Retrieved from

Clark, D. (2009). South Africa: The culture. St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree Pub. Print.

Frankental, S., Sichone, O., & ABC-Clio Information Services. (2005). South Africa's diverse peoples: A reference sourcebook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. Print.

Harrison, D., & South Africa. (2010). An overview of health and health care in South Africa 1994-2010: Priorities, progress, and prospects for new gains: a discussion document commissioned by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation to help inform the National Health Leaders' Retreat; Muldersdrift, January 24-26 2010. Pretoria, South Africa: South Africa. Dept. of Health. Print.

SA HealthInfo. (2015, April 26). South African health organizations Retrieved from

Sibanda, A., Udjo, E. O., Zuberi, T., & South Africa. (2005). The demography of South Africa. Armonk, NY: Sharpe. Print.

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