2nd National Burden of Disease Study reveals noteworthy changes in mortality trends for South Africa

Cape Town | The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) today launched its Second National Burden of Disease Study, which reveals the updated morality trends for 1997 – 2012.

“Our study reveals that non-communicable diseases have now become the leading group of causes resulting in death in South Africa accounting for almost 40% of total deaths and 1 in 3 deaths before the age of 60 years,” says SAMRC Burden of Disease Research Unit Director Professor Debbie Bradshaw.  “Our communities need to be empowered to adopt healthy lifestyles and our primary health care services need to better manage these conditions and their risk factors.” 

The country’s encouraging trajectory in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic is reflected in the findings of the study.  We found that the burden of HIV/AIDS has been on a consistent decline from a staggering 300 000 people dying from the disease in 2006 to 153 000 in 2012. This gain is attributed to the policy regarding extensive ARV roll out for adults and children. “However, HIV/AIDS is still the single leading cause of death for South Africa and all provinces need to prioritize AIDS awareness and HIV reduction programs, including access to treatment,” says Lead Project Coordinator for the study Dr Victoria Pillay-van Wyk. 

The study found that in 2012, just over 10 million years of life were lost due to premature mortality and provides the profiles of causes for each province. Although HIV/AIDS remains the number one cause of years of life lost across all provinces, differences in the profile of other cause were observed. In the Western Cape and Gauteng, for example, interpersonal violence ranks the number two cause of premature death whilst lower respiratory infections rank number two in the Limpopo province.

Prof Glenda Gray, President & CEO of the South African Medical Research Council, appeals to policy makers “to use the results of this study and prioritize activities that will address the social determinants of diseases as well as strengthening the health system response. Much of the premature loss of life can be avoided if appropriate action is taken!”

Electronic copies of the study are available on request and by accessing the following link : www.samrc.ac.za/bod/reports.htm

Release date: 
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 11:00
Keletso Ratsela
Contact: Keletso Ratsela

Media Strategist
Tel: +27 71 214 5272
E-mail: keletso.ratsela@mrc.ac.za