Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Population size
Estimate 312 733 132

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 have been categorised according to World Health Organisation and South African Development Community definitions. Regional populations have been calculated based on World Bank figures.

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