Injury: major cause of death in KZN

2009-12-07 00:00

THE KZN Health Department said yesterday that violence, injury and death are costing people more each festive season and children usually pay the highest price.

In a statement issued yesterday, the department said that in SA injury is one of the major causes of death, adding that despite the magnitude of the problem and its constant coverage by the media, the situation has not improved.

According to the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System (NIMSS), fatal injuries, especially as a consequence of violence and motor vehicle collisions, have been identified as a top South African public health priority.

The majority of the annual injury deaths occurred among African and coloured males in the economically active age range of 15-44 years.

The leading manner of non-natural death for males was homicide, and for females, unintentional injury. More than half of all homicides were inflicted by firearms and a further third by sharp instruments.

The department said the most prominent external causes of death among the other age groups include burns for infants and children younger than five years, pedestrian injuries to children between five and 14 years of age, and then firearm injuries from 15 years onwards. Blood alcohol levels were particularly elevated in firearm and sharp instrument homicides, and among the pedestrians and drivers who die in motor vehicle crashes.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the leading cause of non-natural death is homicide (49%), followed by car accidents (26%), undetermined (10%), suicide (8%) and unintentional (7%).

KZN Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo urged parents to mind their children, especially girls, as they become victims of rape or unintentional injuries such as burns and falling.

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