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Mother-to-child HIV transmissions decrease to under two percent

Health Minister said the country spends more money on the minority in private healthcare than anywhere else.

FILE: The minister was addressing claims that the public health sector is collapsing.

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Health says it's managed to reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission to just under two percent, adding that infections have gone down from 70,000 in 2004 to 7,000 this year.

Health Minister Aaron Mostoaledi revealed the latest figures during his address at the Competition Commission's Health Market Inquiry at the Cape Town International Convention Centre yesterday.

He was addressing claims that the public health sector is collapsing.

The commission's investigating the state and the nature of competition in the healthcare sector.

Motsoaledi says 10 years ago, only 400,000 people were on HIV treatment.

"Today it is 3.4 million people who are on the HIV treatment, the biggest [number] in the world. The programme for prevention from mother-to-child transmission reduced the transmission from eight percent in 2008 to 1.5 percent."

Motsoaledi added that the country spends more money on the minority in private healthcare than it does on the rest of the population.

Minister Motsoaledi told the commission the country's healthcare sector is fragmented along the same lines as under apartheid.

He said in the private-sector about 4.4 percent of the health Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is spent on 16 percent of the population, while the rest have to share 4.1 percent in the public sector.

"There's no measure or indication of gross inequality, than what you see. It does not exist anywhere in the world that you can explain gross inequality than on the manner shown on the screen. And that's another problem that we need to solve."

Motsoaledi said this inequality is caused by the ballooning cost of private healthcare and added that government will have to step in to regulate the expenditure.

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