South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
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Media Release

27 January 2015

Average life expectancy in South Africa continues to increase

The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has released its latest report on mortality which reveals a steady improvement in life expectancy in the country. According to this Rapid Mortality Surveillance Report 2013, issued by the council’s Burden of Disease Research Unit, South Africa’s life expectancy has escalated to 62 years in 2013 – a staggering increase of 8.5 years since the low in 2005.

“Improvements in average life expectancy in South Africa are reason to celebrate and can be attributed in major parts to the country’s vigorous response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in recent years,” says Dr Debbie Bradshaw, Director at the SAMRC’s Burden of Disease Research Unit.

The Rapid Mortality Surveillance Report derives key estimates of key health status indicators for the most recent years from data obtained from the National Population Register. The latest report, a third in the series, shows that all of the mortality related Negotiated Service Delivery Agreement targets set for the South African Health Ministry for 2014/2015 were already exceeded by 2013.
 

“South Africa has certainly made progress, however, the levels of mortality remain higher than those experienced in other middle income countries. It is unlikely that the county will meet its child and maternal mortality Millennium Development Goals,” Dr Bradshaw cautions. “The stagnation of the childhood mortality rates and the high level of maternal mortality are major concerns that need to be addressed by the health sector as well as through improved living conditions.”

“The SAMRC, notes these findings and will focus on funding innovation in key areas that will impact on neonatal and maternal mortality. The SAMRC, by partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in “Grand Challenges South Africa” will fund research that aims to find solutions for maternal and neonatal health and identify interventions that will reduce the deaths of mothers and their babies” says Prof Glenda Gray, President of the SAMRC. 

NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
The table reflects a series of life expectancy reports.  The complete report can be accessed via the SAMRC’s official website: www.mrc.ac.za/bod/reports.htm   

Life expectancy and adult mortality
INDICATOR
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
Life expectancy at birth Total
57.1
58.5
60.5
61.3
62.2
Life expectancy at birth Male
54.6
56.0
57.8
58.5
59.4
Life expectancy at birth Female 
59.7
61.2
63.2
64.0
65.1
Adult mortality (45q15)  Total
46%
43%
40%
38%
36%
Adult mortality (45q15)   Male
51%
48%
46%
44%
42%
Adult mortality (45q15)   Female 
40%
38%
35%
32%
30%

Maternal and child mortality 

 

INDICATOR
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR) per 1 000 live births
56
52
40
41
41
Infant mortality rate (IMR) per 1 000 live births
39
35
28
27
29
Neonatal mortality rate1 (<28 days) per 1 000 live births
14
13
13
11
11
INDICATOR
2008
2009
2010
2011
 
Maternal mortality ratio2 (MMR) per 1 000 live births
281
302
267
197
  1. Based on adjusted DHIS data from NDOH
  2. Based on adjusted cause of death data from Stats SA
       
Media Facilitation
Keletso Ratsela
Media Strategist
Mobile: +27 82 804 8883
Email: keletso.ratsela@mrc.ac.za

Technical Facilitation
Dr Debbie Bradshaw
Director: Burden of Disease Research Unit
Tel: +27 21-938 0427
Email: Debbie.Bradshaw@mrc.ac.za

 
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Last updated:
29 February, 2016
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