Levels and Causes of Adolescent Mortality in South Africa, 2001-2007

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  • Title: Levels and Causes of Adolescent Mortality in South Africa, 2001-2007
  • Author(s): Nicole De Wet, Clifford Odimegwu
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies
  • Keywords: Adolescents, Mortality, Life Expectancy, Associated Decrement Life Tables, Census, Causes of Death, Sex
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2013
  • ISSN: 2324-7576 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2324-7584 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2324-7576/CGP/v07i03/53484
  • Citation: De Wet, Nicole, and Clifford Odimegwu. 2013. "Levels and Causes of Adolescent Mortality in South Africa, 2001-2007." The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies 7 (3): 59-81. doi:10.18848/2324-7576/CGP/v07i03/53484.
  • Extent: 23 pages

Abstract

Abstract: Most studies on mortality focus on under- five children and adults (18+). However between these ages lie an important population of adolescents, aged between 10 and 19 years old. A study on the causes of adolescent mortality from 1984 to 1986 found racial and gendered differences (Fischer, et al, 1992). However, this study admits to under-representing the African population and is out-dated. Although overall, the levels and numbers of adolescent mortality are not very high in South Africa, it is noted here that it is increasing over time. Research and measures need to be put into place now to avert the increasing adolescent mortality rates. This study uses descriptive statistics, age-specific mortality rates, proportional mortality ratios, a direct estimation of mortality, cause- specific mortality rates and associated single decrement life tables to examine the levels and causes of adolescent mortality in contemporary South Africa. Data from the 2001 Census and 2007 Community Survey are used. Findings from this paper show that adolescent mortality was highest in 2007at 54,046 adolescent deaths compared to the 41,443 deaths in 2001. Further, this paper shows that in 2007, life expectancy in the absence of unnatural causes of death would increase to 56 years among younger adolescents (10- 14 years old) and 51 years for older adolescents (15- 19 years old). In addition, the absence of certain infectious diseases including HIV/ AIDS and Tuberculosis, would increase life expectancy to an additional 57 years for younger adolescents according to 2007 data. Thus the prevention of these causes of death is of vital importance to national youth programmes and policies.