Namibia - Health

In 1999, there were 0.3 physicians per 1,000 people. Safe water and adequate sanitation were available to 77% and 41% of the population, respectively, in 2000. Since health services are provided by the ethnically-based second-tier authorities, the system is effectively segregated. In 1990–95, 57% of the population had access to health care services.

In 2000, average life expectancy was 47 years and infant mortality was 62 per 1,000 live births. As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 34.2 and 22.3 per 1,000 people and the maternal mortality rate was estimated at 230 per 100,000 live births in 1998. About 29% of married women ages 15 to 49 years used some form of contraception in 2000.

Immunization rates in 1990–94 for children up to one year old were: tuberculosis, 100%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 79%; polio, 79%; and measles, 68%. As of 1999 the rates for DPT and measles were, respectively, 72% and 66%. About 26% of children under age five were malnourished in 1990. The Namibian government is considering fortifying foods with vitamin A and/or iron. Vitamin A deficiencies were seen in 20.4% of children under age five in 1992 and goiter is a common problem.

At the end of 2001, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 230,000 (including 22.5% of the adult population) and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 13,000. HIV prevalence in 1999 was 19.5 per 100 adults. The epidemic was worst in the northeastern part of the country, where rates of infection were as high as 25% of the population as of 2001. In the same year, HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of mortality (26%, followed by pneumonia (11%), tuberculosis (10%), and malaria (6%). Measles and polio prevalence was low. In 1994, 133 cases of measles were documented and in 1995, 28 polio cases. In 1999, there were 490 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people.

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