KwaZulu-Natal At A Glance 



KwaZulu-Natal is the second most densely populated province in the country, with just over 10 million people - making up just over 21.4% of the total South African population. 

The Province shares borders with Swaziland and Mozambique in the North, Mpumalanga in the North-West, Free State and Lesotho in the West and the Eastern Cape in the South. 

The Northern Districts of Umkhanyakude and Zululand attract patients from Mozambique and Swaziland and patients from the Eastern Cape utilise health services in the Southern Districts of Ugu and Sisonke. 

Natural features including rivers, wetlands and mountainous terrain, and the scattered distribution of homesteads in the rural areas pose unique transport and access challenges for equitable distribution of health services.


Socio-economic factors 

The ten most deprived districts in South Africa fall within three provinces – KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Limpopo – with households living on less than R800 per month ranging between 63% and 82%. 

The official unemployment rate in KZN stands at 22 percent. In 2012, Zululand District had the highest unemployment rate at 31 percent followed by Umzinyathi and Amajuba Districts both at 28.5 percent. 

Child Support Grant continues to be the leading grant type in terms of beneficiaries and by the end of June 2013, the total number of beneficiaries of this grant in KZN stood at 2.7 million which is indicative of poverty levels. 

Approximately 54% of the KZN population live in rural areas, and around 10% of the urban population live in under-developed informal settlements which have significant health and service delivery implications. 

Almost 70% of the province’s population is below the age of 35 years which has significant implications for planning, resource allocation and service delivery, especially with relation to the current burden of disease (including but not exclusive to HIV/AIDS, TB and increasing non-communicable diseases) and the country‟s commitment towards achieving the health Millennium Development Goals. 

The current burden of disease places immense physical, social, emotional and psychological demands on health care providers (both personally and professionally) which in turn have significant implications for service delivery.


Health Stats 

HIV and TB remain the major challenges facing the population of KwaZulu-Natal - and a significant impact on life expectancy, despite a marginal increase in both male and female life expectancy. 

A significant component of the burden of disease is  attributable to communicable diseases and nutritional, maternal and peri-natal conditions. Diarrhoea and respiratory conditions are also common causes of mortality in young children. 

Whilst continuing to battle many socio-economic and health challenges, the province has chartered some significant success in health, including: 

  • A decline in HIV incidence in South Africa from an estimated 2.1% in 2005 to 1.3% in 2008 - largely due to the reduced rates in KZN.
  • A Reduction in reported HIV and AIDS related deaths from 67,429 in 2008/09 to 54,337 in 2010/11
  • Reduction of mother to child HIV transmission from 22% in 2008 to 1.6% in 2013
  • An increase in the TB treatment success rate from 73% in 2008 to 84% in 2013.
  • Improvement of life expectancy from 54 years to 60 years
  • 857,345 patients put on ART in KwaZulu-Natal - the largest ART programme in the world.

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