Africa is rich in natural resources. However, poverty is a recurring problem that brings with it diseases that result in the death of millions of people.
Because of the prevalence of aids in Africa, false statements get bandied around. Here are ten leading causes of death in Africa overall; followed by ten factual statements about HIV in Africa.
10 Leading Causes of Death In Africa
Here is a list of the leading causes of death in Africa. Do not just read about the plight of millions of children in Africa. After you have finished reading, do something to help.
#10 – Meningitis
Bacterial Meningitis, an infection that affects the lining of the brain and spinal cord, breaks out frequently in the Meningitis Belt in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Meningitis belt consists of twenty-six countries extending from the Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east. Meningitis infection causes deaths, deafness and brain damage.
In 2010, data showed that hundreds of cases were reported and over 100, 000 deaths occurred over the previous twenty years.
Nigeria is currently experiencing its largest Meningitis outbreak since 1996. Over 1,000 persons have died and 13,000 cases have been reported.
#9 – Protein-Energy Malnutrition
The only image most people have of Africa is of children with stick-thin legs, large bellies, and large heads.
While Africa has so much more to offer, the reality exists that thousands of children in Africa die yearly from protein-energy malnutrition.
Children, pregnant women, and the elderly develop kwashiorkor or marasmus due to the lack of food and education, poverty, and inadequate agriculture production.
#8 - Ischemic Heart Disease
Modernization is quickly creeping into every civilization; the African continent has not escaped its clutches.
An increasing number of Africans are now buying into convenience food, chowing down on burgers, chicken fried in gallons of oil, and pre-packaged meals.
As a result, the rich man diseases of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity have been on the increase. These diseases all lead to ischemic heart disease which results in thousands of deaths per year.
#7 – Birth Asphyxia and Trauma
Thousands, millions of African women each year go through the heart-rendering pain of delivering stillbirths or seeing the death of their newborns within weeks of giving birth.
Birth asphyxia, deprivation of oxygen during the birthing process, leads to the deaths of millions of babies in Africa annually. The African continent is responsible for 25% of the deaths of newborn deaths that occur in the world.
#6 – Pre-term Birth Complications
Thousands of women in Africa suffer from pre-term birth complications daily. The inability to access proper healthcare and the right diet causes many women to prematurely give birth to their babies.
Babies who survive the initial birthing process, usually die within weeks of being born as women are poorly educated on neonatal care and the babies are born with defects that the healthcare system does not have the capacity to care for.
#5 – Stroke
A person suffers from a stroke when their brain is deprived of oxygen or a blood vessel bursts in the head. Africa has seen an increase in the number of hospital admissions for stroke in recent years.
Data shows that forty-five percent of non-communicable disease deaths in Nigeria is because of stroke.
In Ethiopia, eleven percent of all deaths are because of strokes. Poverty and the inability to access health care continue to increase these numbers annually.
#4 – Malaria
Buzzzz, you better get rid of those mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carry some of the most harmful viruses, one of them being Malaria. Parasites transmitted into the blood by the Anopheles mosquitoes destroy red blood cells which lead to death in many cases.
Children are often the casualties of these infections. In 2015, 292 000 children under the age of five years old died from malaria on the African continent. According to WHO, every 2 minutes a child dies from Malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
#3 – Diarrhoea
Yes! Having the runs can lead to death. Persons living in sub-Saharan Africa contract diarrhea from drinking dirty water or using contaminated water to irrigate their farms.
Diarrhea causes dehydration which when left untreated results in death.
Although diarrhea is fairly easy to treat, individuals do not have access to health care services and they do not have enough education to know how to properly treat illnesses at home.
#2 – Respiratory Infections
Individuals with the majority being children are inflicted with pneumonia, bronchitis, and influenza daily.
The bacteria that transmit these infections live in the sand and so there are high cases of these infections in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2012, 2.4% of deaths reported were due to respiratory infections.
#1 – HIV/AIDS
This deadly virus is the leading killer in Africa. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus transmitted via blood transfusion, sexual intercourse, attacks the immune system.
Persons then become vulnerable to other infections and viruses in their environment.
Africa has more than 50% of individuals living with HIV in the world. In 2015, 470,000 persons died from AIDS South and East Africa, and 19 million persons are currently living with the virus.
Related: 10 Poorest Countries In Africa
Facts about HIV/Aids in Africa
Next, let's take a look at some things you may not have known about this horrible disease.
#10 - Islam plays a role in preventing Aids In North Africa
Countries in North Africa and the Horn of Africa have the lowest HIV prevalence in the world. This is attributed to strict adherence to the laws of the Islam religion by the citizens of these countries.
#9 - Governments are trying their best
Governments and international bodies are increasing their campaigns and initiatives in an effort to stop the spread of HIV in Africa.
The abstinence, be faithful, use a condom (ABC) strategy is one of the many initiatives governments are using.
#8 - Drug patents can mean life or death
In sub-Saharan Africa, it is not easy for individuals to access antiretroviral drugs. Drug companies put patients on medications so that other companies are not able to manufacture them.
This limits the amount that is available and makes the drugs very expensive for people who are already living in poverty.
#7 - Girls are at a higher risk of contracting HIV than boys
Girls are more likely to be infected with HIV than boys. Of all the persons living with HIV between the ages of 15-24, 56% are women. Yes, there is a greater number of women infected with HIV in Africa.
#6 - Swaziland has the most serious case of HIV/AIDS
The Kingdom of Swaziland has the highest number of adults infected with HIV/AIDS in the world. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, an estimated 26% of the adult population has HIV.
Due to the prevalence of HIV in Africa and Swaziland, the life expectancy rate is just 32 years, the lowest in the world. About 61% of the deaths in the country are as a result of HIV/AIDS.
#5 - East and Southern Africa have it the worst
Of the 25.6 million people infected with HIV in Africa, 19 million are from East and Southern Africa. This means that more than 50% of the people with HIV live in East and Southern Africa. The year 2015 saw 960,000 new infections, 46% of the total of new infections in the world.
#4 - Sub-Saharan Africans have a life expectancy of 54.4 years
Persons who live in sub-Sahara have an average life expectancy of 54.4 years. AVERT wrote that the high number of deaths each year causes children to become orphans.
With the death of adults, families become impoverished. The economies of these countries also bear the brunt of the high number of AIDS-related deaths.
#3 - HIV/AIDS is highly concentrated in Africa
Of the 1.7 million people who died from HIV in 2011, 1.2 million of the deaths recorded occurred in Africa
#2 - 91% of children with HIV are in Africa
Of all the children living with HIV all over the globe, 91% live in Africa
#1 - Sub-Saharan Africa is the most HIV prevalent region in the world
In 2015, data collected showed that 25.6 million HIV infected people lived in Sub-Saharan Africa. These figures make Sub-Saharan Africa the most affected region in the world.
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