Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Population size
Estimate 181 226 100

Main health concerns
Southern Africa is the world’s epicentre of the HIV epidemic: according to the United Nations the region has the highest prevalence of HIV, with Eswatini having the highest infection rate in the world (27.3% according to 2018 Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids data) and South Africa having the largest number of people with HIV (7.7 million according to 2018 Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids data). South Africa has the world’s largest public sector HIV treatment programme.

Tuberculosis is spreading in key populations that are also vulnerable to HIV infection, including miners, sex workers, cross border truck drivers and men who have sex with men.

Some countries in the region, such as South Africa and Zambia experience regular drug stock-outs and challenges with the distributions of medicine.

Diabetes, heart disease and strokes are high risk non-communicable diseases in Southern Africa. The World Health Organisation attributes poor structural resources, the departure of skilled professionals and limited budget transparency as some of the reasons for elevated disease burdens in the region.

Countries in regions and regional populations have been categorised according to United Nations Economic Commission for Africa definitions.

Our Stories from Southern Africa

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