The high cost of treating certain diseases, most notably HIV/AIDS, when coupled with the indirect costs from lost worker productivity, is having a serious negative impact on African economies. More effort must go toward primary care, especially in rural areas, accompanied by activities to promote health, prevent disease and improve education for all ages.

The African continent is the region of the world most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which is reversing decades of improvement in life expectancy, educational progress and economic growth. For example, in Lesotho , where life expectancy was 60 years in 1995, it plummeted to 35 years in 2010.

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