2 December 2011
South Africa’s mortality rate continued to decline in 2009, with tuberculosis (TB) being the most commonly mentioned cause of death on certificates, says Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).
Releasing the findings of the Mortality and Causes of Death in South Africa report for 2009, Stats SA said a total of 572 673 deaths occurred in 2009, and were registered with the Department of Home Affairs.
“The total number of deaths processed by Stats SA decreased by 1.5% between 2007 and 2008, and by 3.8% between 2008 and 2009,” the agency said.
“The results indicate that mortality continues to decline in the country as observed from 2007 in both data processed by Stats SA and the number of deaths recorded in the national population register.”
The annual report, produced jointly by the departments of health and home affairs, found that the decline in the country’s number of deaths was for both men and women, with female deaths declining at a higher rate than men.
“The majority of deaths occurred among the black African population group. Most deaths occurred at healthcare facilities, although about 30% still occurred at home.
“Information on causes of death indicated that the majority of deaths resulted from natural causes, particularly certain infectious and parasitic diseases,” noted the report.
TB remains most common cause
In 2009, tuberculosis continued to be the most commonly mentioned cause of death on death notification forms, as well as the leading underlying natural cause of death in the country. However, the number of deaths due to this cause has been decreasing since 2007.
Influenza and pneumonia were the second leading cause of death, followed by intestinal infectious diseases, other forms of heart disease and cerebro-vascular diseases. This was observed in men and women.
HIV overall was the seventh leading cause of death, accounting for 3.1% of all deaths in 2009. For men and women, HIV was the sixth and eighth leading cause of death respectively.
Children under 15 years died mainly from intestinal infectious diseases, while those aged between 15 and 64 years died mostly from tuberculosis. Those aged 65 years and older died mostly from cerebro-vascular diseases.
A proportion of 8.6% of all deaths were due to non-natural causes of death, with the majority of these due to other external causes of accidental injury.
“The highest percentage of deaths due to non-natural causes was observed for those aged 15 – 19 when compared to other age groups; and the number of deaths was generally higher for males of all age groups compared to females.
“Also, compared to other provinces, the province of death occurrence that had the highest proportion of non-natural deaths was the Western Cape,” the report stated.