Tuberculosis continues to be the number one killer in South Africa
Johannesburg- Sunburst Africa– – According to data released by statistics South Africa (Stats SA) yesterday on causes of death for 2013, Tuberculosis maintained its position as the number one killer in the country based on all death notification forms from the civil registration system maintained by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).
The report showed that the number of deaths that occurred in 2013 was 458 933, this was good news as it shown a decline from 2007 figures. In 2013, the total number of deaths processed by Stats SA decreased by 6,5% from a total of 491 100 deaths that occurred in 2012.
The highest proportion of deaths that occurred in 2013 was amongst those aged 60–64 and the lowest was observed in age groups 5–9 years and 10–14 years. The proportion of deaths was slightly higher for males (52,3%) compared to females (47,7%) and on average, males died earlier (50,3 years) than females (55,9 years). The highest proportion of deaths (21,3%) occurred in Gauteng, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape each comprising 18,3% and 13,9%, respectively. These provinces also have the largest population sizes in the country.
In 2013, the majority of deaths resulted from the main group of certain infectious and parasitic diseases (22,6%), followed by diseases of the circulatory system (16,7%). Tuberculosis maintained its rank as the number one leading cause of death in South Africa, followed by influenza and pneumonia. The most notable change in rank was for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease which moved from being ranked sixth in 2012 accounting for 3,9% to third rank in 2013 accounting for 5,1% deaths.
Sex differentials show that tuberculosis was ranked the first leading cause of death for both males and females. The second leading cause of death amongst males was influenza and pneumonia with HIV disease ranked third. For females, diabetes mellitus was the second leading cause of death, with cerebrovascular diseases ranked third. HIV disease ranked fourth for females.
With regards to age differentials, respiratory and cardiovascular disorders specific to the perinatal period were the leading cause during infancy (age 0). For ages 1–14 intestinal infectious diseases were the leading cause, whilst for age groups 15–44 and 45–54 tuberculosis was the top ranked cause of death. Cerebrovascular diseases were the leading cause of death for ages 65 years and older.
Causes of death by provinces show that in 2013 diabetes mellitus maintained its ranking as the leading cause of death in Western Cape; HIV disease ranked highest in Northern Cape replacing tuberculosis; and Limpopo province continued to have influenza and pneumonia as the leading cause of death. Tuberculosis continued to be the first leading cause of death in the remaining six provinces.
Although the number of deaths due to natural causes were higher than the number of deaths due to non-natural causes, the proportion of deaths due to non-natural cause have been on a slight increase in the recent years. Deaths due to non-natural causes were mainly dominated by those due to other external causes of accidental injury (60,1%) followed by event of undetermined intent (14,7%). There were 11,2% non-natural deaths due to traffic accidents and 10,2% due to assault. The province with the highest proportion of deaths due to traffic accidents was Limpopo.
The ages that were mostly affected by non-natural causes were 5–29 years. More males died of non-natural causes compared to females. Furthermore, Western Cape had the highest proportion of deaths due to non-natural causes compared to other provinces.
While there has been a decline in deaths from previous years- one death from a preventable cause is still one too many and south Africa needs to continue to strive to reduce the causes of death- especially those due to external accidents.