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HSRC Press Publishes First South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

South African National Health and Nutrition Examination SurveyThe HSRC Press has published the report of the first ever South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the result of a comprehensive health and nutrition study by the Human Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council.

The report contains information on emerging epidemics of non-communicable diseases, as well as analysis of the underlying social, economic, behavioural and environmental factors that drives these diseases in the South African population.

Health and nutritional status, particularly that of young children, serve as important indicators of development, social upliftment and access to resources within communities at large. According to World Health Organization (WHO) and the Constitution of South Africa, sustained access to health care and adequate food for a healthy and active life is a human right. Despite some notable achievements in the South African health care system, challenges remain to address the high disease burden, largely due to HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) and the emerging epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the health care consequences of trauma and violence, inadequate financing, the existence of a two-tiered health care delivery system, the escalating cost of medicines and skilled human resource shortages (Shisana 2013; Mayosi, Lawn, Van Niekerk et al. 2012).

The South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES-1) was established as a continuous population health survey in order to address the changing health needs in the country and provide a broader and more comprehensive platform to study the health status of the nation on a regular basis. The first SANHANES, SANHANES-1, provides critical information to map the emerging epidemic of NCDs in South Africa and analyses their social, economic, behavioural and environmental determinants. Data on the magnitude of and trends in NCDs, as well as other existing or emerging health priorities, will be essential in developing national prevention and control programmes, assessing the impact of interventions, and evaluating the health status of the country

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