Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death among the youth in 2013, Statistician General Pali Lehohla revealed in a report released on Monday by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).
The morbidity and mortality patterns among the youth of South Africa report found that 77 822 deaths occurred among the youth, with natural causes being the most common cause of death and non-natural causes of death contributing less than 30% of all deaths.
"Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death among the youth in seven provinces except for the Western Cape and Northern Cape, where HIV was the first," the report noted.
"The leading cause of death for the Black African and Asian/Indian population groups was tuberculosis, while ischaemic heart diseases were the leading cause for the White population, and the human immunodeficiency virus disease for the Coloured population group."
Leading cause of deaths among all youth
The table below presents the ten leading underlying causes of death for the youth in 2013; it shows that tuberculosis (14.1%) was the leading cause of death among the youth. It was followed by HIV and other viral diseases.
The remaining underlying causes of death contributed less than 5% to the overall deaths. Intestinal infectious diseases, which was ranked third for the overall deaths in 2013, was ranked the sixth underlying cause of death for the youth.
Leading causes of death by gender
The ranking of the leading causes of death for both sexes were the same for the first six causes of death. Tuberculosis was the first leading underlying cause of death, followed by HIV, other viral diseases, influenza and pneumonia and certain disorders involving the immune mechanism.
Inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system was ranked the seventh and eighth for males and females, respectively, but the eighth cause of death for females. Episodic and paroxysmal disorders were ranked ninth for males while protozoal diseases were ranked ninth for females. The contribution of all the leading causes of death to overall number of deaths for each sex was higher for females as compared to males.
Leading causes of death by population group
There was a notable difference in the leading causes of death by population group. The leading cause of death, tuberculosis, was ranked first for the Black African and Indian/Asian population groups, while it was ranked second for the Coloured population group and seventh for the White population group. For the White population, the leading cause of death was ischaemic heart diseases and for the Coloured population group it was HIV.
Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death among the youth in seven provinces except for Western Cape and Northern Cape, where HIV was the leading cause. Other viral diseases were ranked the third leading cause of death in five provinces, namely: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, while in the remaining four provinces, namely: Northern Cape, Free State, North West and Gauteng it was ranked the fourth.
"This information can be used by programme managers of the Department of Health responsible for the Adolescent and Youth Health programmes both at national and provincial levels for monitoring the Adolescent and Youth Health Policy," recommended the report.
"In conclusion, information in this report has highlighted that there is still a need to intensify efforts to prevent diseases like tuberculosis and HIV in the youth in South Africa."
Download the full report.
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