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SOUTH AFRICA: Rising AIDS deaths need burial support - expert

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 7 October (PLUSNEWS) - South Africa needs an indigent burial support programme to cope with the growing number of HIV/AIDS-related deaths, the Gauteng AIDS Council conference heard on Thursday.

Shirley Ngwenya, a public health researcher, said more and more people needed support to bury family members as well as assistance for the families of those living with the HI virus.

The local Mail and Guardian newspaper quoted Ngwenya as saying, "In many cases, communities, undertakers and church groups provide financial support for burials, as immediate families cannot afford the cost. Municipalities highlighted the need for indigent burial because ... of the increase in the number of unclaimed corpses from government mortuaries."

According to a 2004 study by Ngwenya on AIDS, poverty and funeral costs, and the impact on municipalities, only four municipal districts in Gauteng province had indigent burial support programmes.

The gathering also heard that an estimated 6.3 million South Africans were living with HIV/AIDS and life expectancy was expected fall from 63 to 46 years.



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· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
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· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

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