The government in South Africa has announced the expansion of the current demographic studies to track health, income and education for almost 1% of the country’s population
The approximate cost for the project, as estimated by the Department of Science and Technology will be around US$19 million. The project is expected to last for the next 5 years and will cover half a million people. Future government funding is expected to complete the plan,because the long-term sustainability of such studies is not possible by using only non-governmental donors’ funds.
In order to register and monitor the patterns of disease linked with pollution, stress and dietary habits, the currently existing surveillance network will expand into three of South Africa’s biggest cities: Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. During the first three years, the project will include a total of 300.000 people, as the rest of 200.000 are expected to be covered until the end of the five year period.
The government funding will cover the health and socio-demographic surveys, while HIV sequence DNA testing will be funded from external international investments.
The programme, launched on 4 October by South African science minister Naledi Pandor, also includes plans for a drug development and clinical nuclear-medicine research facility, in order to attract international interest.
As in Africa officials have mainly focused on health emergencies such as HIV or Ebola, major health problems in the area, such as tuberculosis, cancer and diabetes will also be monitored and curbed in order to enhance life expectancy, as well as lifestyle and health levels.