10.09.2007

The high burden of injuries in South Africa

The Bulletin of the World Health Organization has published an article to
estimate the magnitude and characteristics of the injury burden in South Africa
within a global context.

Methods

The Actuarial Society of South Africa demographic and AIDS model (ASSA 2002) ­
calibrated to survey, census and adjusted vital registration data ­ was used to
calculate the total number of deaths in 2000. Causes of death were determined
from the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System profile. Injury death
rates and years of life lost (YLL) were estimated using the Global Burden of
Disease methodology. National years lived with disability (YLDs) were
calculated by applying a ratio between YLLs and YLDs found in a local injury
data source, the Cape Metropole Study. Mortality and disability-adjusted life
years' (DALYs) rates were compared with African and global estimates.

Findings

Interpersonal violence dominated the South African injury profile with
age-standardized mortality rates at seven times the global rate. Injuries were
the second-leading cause of loss of healthy life, accounting for 14.3% of all
DALYs in South Africa in 2000. Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are the leading
cause of injury in most regions of the world but South Africa has exceedingly
high numbers ­ double the global rate.

Conclusion

Injuries are an important public health issue in South Africa. Social and
economic determinants of violence, many a legacy of apartheid policies, must be
addressed to reduce inequalities in society and build community cohesion.
Multisectoral interventions to reduce traffic injuries are also needed. We
highlight this heavy burden to stress the need for effective prevention
programmes.

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AplusA-online.de - Source: World Health Organization