Improved HIV treatment credited with cutting child mortality

Improved treatment for HIV/Aids has been cited as one reason why child mortality is on the decrease in South Africa.

Research contained in the Census 2011 shows mortality rates in children under five dipped slightly between 2007 and 2011, from around 61,000 to approximately 55,000, the New Age reports.

Deputy director-general of Statistics SA Kefiloe Masiteng highlighted changes in the country's HIV policies as helping the decline, noting treatment of the disease means deaths are on the decline.

South Africa has been set a UN target of cutting its child mortality rate by two-thirds from the 1990 figure by 2015 and spokesman for the Health Ministry Joe Maila said he is confident the country will succeed.

"Our life expectancy has improved drastically (six years), so it shows that the measures we have in place are yielding results," he remarked.

However, Mr Maila added that more work needs to be done to further reduce the figure, adding: "We cannot lower our guard now".

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