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NGO: '1 in 7 South Africans suffers from rare disease'

28 February 2019 - 13:18 By Rare Diseases SA
International Rare Disease Day is on 28 February.
International Rare Disease Day is on 28 February.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

February 28 marks international Rare Disease Day and NGO Rare Disease SA is marking the day by raising awareness about disease in SA.

The organisation says, on average, it takes 7.2 years to diagnose a rare disease.

Although the diseases are rare individually, they affect more people than cancer and HIV/Aids combined.

Rare Disease SA says there are 7,000 diseases and disorders known at present, with even more being discovered every day.  

Statistically SA has 3.7-million people suffering from rare diseases while an estimate global figure stands at 350-million people, half of whom are children.

The organisation has encouraged people to acknowledge the importance of genetic testing, as this helps detect the diseases, and the prevention of further spread. 


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