Population ageing and older persons’ health in South Africa
Jané D. Joubert, Medical Research Council of South Africa
In South Africa, past population concerns focussed on high fertility and child mortality. Current health priorities are determined by HIV/AIDS and an MDG-driven focus on child and maternal health. However, demographic change is creating an ageing population, with a high rate of growth in the older population (60+ years). The ASSA2003 AIDS and Demographic model is used to project population trends. Selected indicators of population ageing are used to describe the future impact of current demographic trends. Available cause of death data, as well as national empirical data on chronic conditions, health care access, risk factors for disease, and living conditions among older persons are used to review current health care concerns of older persons. The results from these data highlight the need for stronger efforts to promote healthy ageing accompanied by the extension of primary health care to better diagnose and manage chronic diseases and their risk factors.