Children in South Africa still face significant health risks, and to avoid a public health trap, experts stress the importance of the public health system.
The South Africa Node writes,
"According to the South African Child Gauge 2009/2010, the only publication to provide an annual snapshot of the status of South Africa’s children, HIV and childhood infections (such as diarrhea and lower respiratory infections) are the leading causes of death for children under five. The report shows that South Africa has failed to reduce child mortality since 1990 meaning that the country will not be able to meet MDG 4, which aims to reduce child mortality by two thirds by 2012. South Africa is not making much progress either on other MDG targets for reducing child hunger, HIV and tuberculosis. Health experts stress that a prioritised, better managed and better resourced public health system is critical if South Africa wants to achieve true progress."
The South Africa Node writes that poor children's health has lasting cohort effects:
"Poor child health causes a vicious circle of poverty and death that will have a lasting effect on generations of South Africans. Malnutrition, for example, leads to poor cognitive development, which in turn causes poor school performance, which means that affected children are likely to have reduced career opportunities as they enter adulthood and thus a smaller chance to be economically successful and a higher risk of suffering from poverty."
South Africa Node Aug 2010, pg. 6 - 7