Suicide, HIV-AIDS leading causes of death among Namibians

After Covid-19, HIV-AIDS and suicide are the leading causes of death for men between the ages of 15 and 59.

This is according to the Namibia Statistics Agency’s (NSA) mortality and causes of death report released yesterday.

The report shows men account for 46 493 deaths between 2018 and 2021, while women account for 37 258 deaths during the same period.

The NSA has also listed the deaths of unknown genders at 26.

The overall number of deaths for the four years is 83 777.

While Covid-19 is responsible for 15,1% of the deaths, HIV-AIDS claimed 9,3% of the lives, while suicide took 6,8%.

Meanwhile, the overall causes of death for men are: hypertension, respiratory infections and HIV-AIDS.

The data also showed that there are more male infant deaths in comparison to female infant deaths.

However, statistician general Alex Shimuafeni said some causes of death were inaccurately recorded by healthcare providers and there is a need for reform.

“The data shows that almost half (49 %) of deaths that occurred in 2021 had ill-defined causes. This contributes to a wrong classification of causes of death by healthcare providers during manual recording of causes of deaths. The classification is not correct and accurate as per the 11th International Classification of Diseases,” said Shimuafeni.

He described this as a major concern in an era where the Ministry of Health and Social Services is supposed to use an e-death notification system that could improve the quality of data.

“I would, therefore, want to challenge the Ministry of Health and Social Services to ensure that this aspect is taken up with the doctors. On the other hand, I would like to plead with the Office of the Prime Minister, the system developer, to investigate ways on how best we can improve the system,” said Shimuafeni.

Hope Community Clinic registered nurse Helena-Tangi Shigwedha said the main causes of hypertension among people is stress. She was speaking during an interview with The Namibian yesterday.

According to Shigwedha, when patients with high blood pressure come into her clinic, it’s usually the result of stress in their lives.

“When you encounter a patient with hypertension, in most cases it is because of stress,” she said.

Shigwedha said men experience hypertension because of pressure from society, while hypertension is also common in people who are underprivileged and in the lower income class.

She added that for youths, stress and hypertension can occur due to the high unemployment rate.

“Underprivileged and low income people are more prone to hypertension… Other causes of hypertension include, marital issues, societal pressures and the high unemployment rate, especially among the youth,” Shigwedha said.

According to scientific research, hypertension can also be passed on genetically, although very rarely, she said.

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