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Media statement

1 March 2012

Distric burden of disease profiles

The MRC Burden of Disease Research Unit has collaborated with Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) and the Health Systems Trust to explore, for the first time, the possibilities of using the death notification data produced by StatsSA to assess and compare the cause of death profiles for each of the 52 health districts in South Africa.

The results based on 2008 data are included in the District Barometer for 2010/11 that was released by the Health Systems Trust on 23 February.  District level mortality information is useful for health managers and programme planners to monitor health status, assess effectiveness of priority programmes and identify emerging health issues and vulnerable groups. It can also be used to gauge the inequities in health among districts.

A number of data quality concerns were noted, including the completeness of death registration, a high proportion of ill-defined and garbage codes and the misattribution of HIV deaths to TB, diarrhoea, pneumonia etc.  Nonetheless, these results provide a first opportunity to compare district mortality profiles and it is hoped that the dissemination of these results will provide a broad assessment of the mortality profile by district and importantly as well as stimulate attempts to improve the quality of the data in future.

The chapter was written by:

Pam Groenewald1, William Msemburi1, Ian Neethling1, Candy Day2, Maletela Tuoane-Nkhazi3, Debbie Bradshaw1.

1. South African Medical Research Council
2. Health Systems Trust
3. Statistics South Africa

Contact Person
Prof Debbie Bradshaw
Tel: (021) 9380427

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Last updated:
9 April, 2014
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