Trends and differentials in mortality from communicable diseases in South Africa, 1997-2013

Eric O Udjo, University of South Africa

Communicable diseases still contribute substantially to total mortality globally despite the increasing prominence of non-communicable diseases. It is only in Africa where communicable diseases dominate non-communicable diseases as causes of death. The purpose of this study is to examine trends and differentials in mortality from communicable diseases in South Africa during the period 1997-2013 using the causes of death data for the period. The classification of causes of death in the data was done by Statistics South Africa using the International Classification of Diseases, Revision 10 (ICD-10). The methods of analysis consisted of computing age standardised mortality rates and median survival times for sub-groups of communicable diseases deaths. Despite weaknesses in the data, the following conclusions could be drawn from the study. The trend in percentage contribution of communicable diseases deaths to total deaths may have declined since 2006 in South Africa, but communicable diseases still contribute at least a third of total death. Of the nine provinces in South Africa, the Free State had the highest crude death rates from communicable diseases during the period 1997-2013 controlling for changes in age structure while the Western Cape had the least crude death rate during the period. Despite the availability and roll out of anti-retroviral therapy, death rate from HIV/AIDS as underlying cause of death, increased during the period 1997-2013. Of adults who died between the age of 15 and 64 years, the median survival time for HIV/AIDS as underlying cause of death was less than two years during the period 2000-2010.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session 3