The death rate in Harare has fallen significantly from 10 242 in 2012 to 9 748 in 2013 while the number of HIV-related deaths among the productive age group still remain high, the latest city health report reveals.
The city’s crude death rate was 6,4 per 1 000 and the report further indicated that the five leading causes of death in 2013 accounted for 4 392 of all deaths in Harare.
According to the city-wide report, the leading causes of death in 2013 were HIV related at 21,2 percent, pneumonia 10,8 percent, cardiac failure 4,8 percent, cardiovascular accident 4,2 percent and renal failure 4,1 percent.
City health officials said the data was compiled from death certificates collected from the registration of births and deaths in Harare district.
It represented residents in Harare only.
“The proportion of deaths in the productive age group (15 – 44) remains unacceptably high. The high mortality in this age group impacts negatively on the economy since deaths occur prematurely,” read part of the report.
“Efforts to prevent these deaths in this most productive group should be strengthened if the economy has to be sustained.”
In the 15 – 65 age groups HIV-related conditions were the leading cause of death while in the 65 plus age group malignancies and cardiac failure were the leading cause.
In 2013, the number of deaths from suicides was 98 compared to 96 in 2012.
Still births fell from 1 380 in 2012 to 1 262 in 2013 and city health officials estimate that the city has a still birth rate of 20,8 per 1 000 live births.
Of the total suicides, the highest occurred in the 25 – 44 years age group and the most common methods of suicide were ingestion of organophosphates (poison), hanging and gunshot.
The suburbs which recorded the highest deaths included southern suburbs which had a total of 1 710 deaths (17,5 percent, northern suburbs 898 (9,2 percent), Kuwadzana 699 (7,2 percent), Mbare 690 (7,1 percent) and Highfield 679 (7,0 percent).
City health officials say the proportion of deaths occurring in homes dropped significantly than in previous years.
An estimated 71 percent of deaths occurred at major public hospitals and others with about 25,3 percent occurring at home.
The two central hospitals, Parirenyatwa and Harare Hospital registered 5 780 deaths, private 1 009, municipal hospitals 140 and other hospitals 290 while 2 470 deaths occurred at home.
The majority of the patients who die at home were diagnosed with HIV, TB and pneumonia.
Deaths from non-communicable diseases were also rising in the city.
“Chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes need to be closely monitored since there has been a significant increase in deaths as a result of them,” reads the report.
Public health experts say information on mortality patterns is important for understanding changes in the health and well-being of residents in the city.