The Burden of Disease Research Unit completed the first National Burden of Disease study for South Africa for the year 2000. Following the Global Burden of Disease study methodology the main focus of the study was to estimate the burden due to premature mortality (years of life lost). Attempts were made to estimate the additional burden contributed by morbidity (years lived with disability), to estimate the disability adjusted life years, and to project the impact of HIV/AIDS on premature mortality in the year 2010. Estimates were derived from different data sources for the levels and underlying causes of disease and injury deaths. The top 20 causes of death and premature mortality were ranked and those contributing the greatest burden can be prioritised for seeking cost-effective health interventions. Initial Burden of Disease Estimates for South Africa, 2000 (pdf format, 466kb)
The Second National Burden of Disease study is currently underway in South Africa. Over the next three years this study aims to conducts epidemiological analyses on available data sources and develop coherent estimates of the number of deaths, years of life lost due to premature mortality for the period 1997 and 2010 and disability adjusted life years for 2000 and 2010. Estimation of the number of deaths for South Africa included the development of a regression model to estimate the number of deaths for HIV/AIDS. For the first time, this study will report trends in mortality for the period 1997 – 2010 for the country and each province. Preliminary results suggest a decrease in the mortality rates for HIV/AIDS and TB, non-communicable diseases, and injuries for the South Africa in 2010. In addition, a comparative risk assessment will be conducted for 2010 to quantify the contribution of 21 modifiable risk factors.
The unit conducted a review of available empirical data of levels and causes of mortality during childhood, which consolidated information about the changes that occurred between 1997 and 2007. The consistency between data sources was considered to estimate childhood mortality rates utilizing 11 years of vital registration data, national household surveys and censuses, injury surveillance data as well as demographic surveillance and health service data. The review concluded that substantial improvement in the completeness of registration had occurred, reaching levels of 90% for infants and 60% for children aged 1-4 years infant. The increased mortality experienced by children under-5 in the late 1990’s had stabilized in the new Millennium and the cause of death pattern indicated that by 2007 the “Big Five” health challenges for the country were HIV/AIDS, pregnancy and childbirth complications, newborn illness, childhood infections and malnutrition. http://www.mrc.ac.za/bod/MortalityStatisticsSA.pdf