Chronic illness / Diseases / Research

What the South African youth are dying from

This year, Stats SA released a report documenting the ‘Morbidity and mortality levels among the youth of South Africa”, which is part of a series of health reports aimed at better informing youth health programmes in their policy-making. The survey documented findings from 2013, and was released on 29 June 2015.

The report, based on data from the 2013 General Household Survey (GHS) that was conducted by Stats SA between January and December 2013 and the Mortality and causes of death 2013 data set, uncovered information including the types of illnesses young South Africans were most commonly suffering and/or dying from as well as various statistics dealing with medical treatment.

With regards to health-seeking practices, the most common reported illness recorded one month before the survey was the flu or acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI), which affected more than half the youth of South Africa, while 30% of the population admitted to not approaching a medical health worker for help, with 60% of those individuals choosing to self-medicate instead. Most alarming in this set of findings is that less than 15% of the population was covered by medical aid.

The report further revealed the ten leading causes of death among all youth, beginning with tuberculosis (14,1%), followed by HIV (10,1%), other viral diseases (5,7%) and influenza and pneumonia (4,6%). This lead to the conclusion that there is a need to intensify efforts to prevent diseases such as these.

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