South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has said that the country ranks the worst in terms of performance on the health index, as compared to the other BRICS nations.
According to standard health indicators, Motsoaledi said, South Africa is worse than Brazil, Russia, India and China, reports News 24.
The average South African was expected to live until 54, while the Chinese could live to the age of 74, Brazilians to 73, Russians 68, and Indians 65.
Infant mortality in South Africa stood at 43 deaths per 1,000 live births, and 62 children out of every 1,000 would not make it to their fifth birthday.
According to Motsoaledi, on average, 410 South African mothers out of 1,00000 died during pregnancy or childbirth. He added that 521 out of every 1,000 South African men aged 15 to 59 die before turning 60.
Motsoaledi said the number of people who died annually in South Africa almost doubled between 1997 and 2006, which increased from 3,17,131 to 6,12,462.
Many of South Africa's dire mortality statistics could be attributed to communicable diseases, especially HIV and tuberculosis, he said.
South Africa, however, fared fairly well in curbing smoking. In Russia, 70.1 percent of men over the age of 15 were smokers. Brazil had the best figures, with only 19.4 percent of men smoking.
Most of the health indicator figures quoted by Motsoaledi were the most recent available and were for 2010.