Survey: KZN has SA’s highest death rate

2014-03-19 00:00

MORE people died in KwaZulu-Natal in 2011 than any other province while KZN also recorded the highest proportion of deaths due to HIV/Aids, according to statistics released yesterday.

As in most provinces, district municipalities and metros, Tuberculosis (TB) was the leading cause of death in KZN.

In eThekwini Metro, TB was followed by heart disease, diabetes, cerebrovascular diseases and HIV as the leading causes of death.

In the Msunduzi Municipality, TB was the leading cause of death followed by HIV. This mirrored the statistics for the uMgungundlovu District Municipality, which includes Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg).

Nationwide a total of 505 803 deaths were registered in 2011, said statistician general Pali Lehohla speaking in Pretoria yesterday at the release of the Stats SA report, “Mortality and causes of death in South Africa, 2011: Findings from death notification”.

The total figure marked a reduction in deaths over previous years according to Lehohla. “The number of deaths between 2010 and 2011 decreased by 7,7%, while during 2009 and 2010 and 2008 and 2009, the number of deaths decreased by 5,6% and 2,6% respectively.”

KZN, the second most populated province, had the highest proportion of deaths (20,7%), followed by Gauteng, the most populous province, at 19,9% and the Eastern Cape at 14,4%. The lowest proportion of deaths were in Northern Cape (2,9%).

eThekwini Municipality recorded the second highest number of deaths among metros with 27 536, after Johannesburg (29 469), and followed by Ekurhuleni (26 724), Cape Town (26 466) and Tshwane (19 574).

Of the total figure of 505 803, around 45 990 deaths were due to unnatural causes including accidents, assaults, complications in medical and surgical operations, and suicides.

Sixty-one percent of all non-natural deaths stemmed from accidental injuries, 11% from assault, 14% from undetermined intent, and three percent from medical and surgical complications, which included pregnancy and birth complications.

Eleven percent of non-natural deaths also occurred due to transport accidents, while one percent occurred due to suicide.

Overall nearly 25% of deaths were attributed to “ill-defined causes” and Lehohla said that as this was of no “public health value” and could make “the cause of death information unreliable” there was need to improve the quality of data.

Lehohla said TB was the leading identified cause of death in both males and females. The disease was responsible for 12% of deaths among men and 10% in women. Influenza and pneumonia were also high on the list of leading causes of death.

TB was the leading cause of death in all provinces with the exception of Free State and Limpopo, where it was the second leading cause of death to influenza and pneumonia. The highest number and proportion of deaths due to tuberculosis occurred in KwaZulu-Natal (15 034), accounting for 14,4% of all deaths in the province.

HIV as a cause of death featured in seven of the nine provinces among 10 leading identifiable causes of death. The two provinces where HIV disease did not appear in the 10 leading causes of death were North West and Limpopo.

The highest ranking for HIV disease was Northern Cape, where it was the fourth leading cause of death. It was ranked fifth in KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, eighth in Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape, ninth in Gauteng and 10th in Free State.

However, the highest proportion of deaths due to HIV disease was observed in Western Cape (5,7%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (4,7%) and Northern Cape (4,5%).

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