SA's death rate drops

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pretoria - South Africa's death rate has showed a decline of 1.8 percent from 2007 to 2008, said Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

The 2008 Mortality and Causes of Death in SA Report, which was released by Stats SA on Thursday, showed that South Africa's mortality continued to decrease since 2007.

Between 2006 and 2007, the number of deaths decreased by 1.6 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

"The majority of deaths occurred among the black African population group and most deaths occurred in health facilities, even though about 30 percent still occurred at home," said Stats SA.

Women deaths declined the most by 2.2 percent, followed by men at 1.5 percent.

Crude death rates also showed a modest decline over time for both men and women.

"Further, sex ratios of deaths at younger adult ages indicate that although female mortality increased in the early 2000s, it somewhat stabilised around 2005 and commenced a modest decline."

The majority of deaths were due to natural causes. "This is mainly from the main group of certain infectious and parasitic diseases, responsible for about a quarter of all deaths."

The number of both natural and non-natural causes decreased between 2007 and 2008, with non-natural deaths decreasing at a higher rate than natural causes (2.6 percent for non-natural causes and 1.7 percent for natural causes).

Tuberculosis continued to be the leading cause of death, (even across all provinces except in the Free State and Limpopo) accounting for about 13 percent of deaths in the country.

It has been the leading cause of death in the country since 1997. Influenza and pneumonia was the second leading cause, followed by intestinal infectious diseases, forms of heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases.

HIV disease and certain disorders involving the immune mechanism were the seventh and eighth leading causes of death, respectively.

"While the number of deaths due to certain disorders involving the immune mechanism decreased between 2007 and 2008, the number of deaths due to HIV disease increased. HIV disease was the eighth and the ninth leading cause of death for males and females, respectively," said Stats SA.

According to Stats SA, the highest number of deaths was observed in KwaZulu-Natal, followed by Gauteng and Eastern Cape.

Non-natural causes of death were due to other external causes of accidental injury, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all non-natural deaths. The highest proportion of deaths due to non-natural causes was observed among 15 - 19-year-olds; among males; as well as those who died in the Western Cape.

The Northern, Western and Eastern Capes had the highest percentages of deaths due to assault, while Limpopo had the highest percentage of deaths due to transport accidents.