Africa: Communicable Diseases Leading Causes of Deaths in the Continent - WHO Official

Luanda — Communicable diseases account for 63 percent of all deaths in the African region, said Monday the regional director of World Health Organisation for Africa (WHO/Afro), Luís Gomes Sambo.

Addressing an opening of the 62nd meeting of the organisation Luis Sambo noted that, HIV/ AIDS, diarrheal diseases, malaria, tuberculosis and childhood diseases cause 88 percent of deaths in the continent, whose average of life expectancy is around 54 years old.

Despite these numbers, he said, the African region has made progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, as the coverage of interventions to reduce vertical transmission and treatment with antiretrovirals also increased from 100,000 people in 2003 to 6.2 million in 2011.

However, the annual incidence of HIV infection is still very high. In 2011 only some 1.7 million new cases were reported.

Sambo commended the emergence of the new conjugate vaccine against meningococcal meningitis A, regarded as powerful weapon.

Another improvement is related to the reduction of mortality among children under five years that keep declining in the region.

Moreover, maternal mortality decreased on an average of 720 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 480 per 100, 000 in 2010, a figure still insufficient to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

However, mental disorders and injuries account for about 60 percent of the disease burden worldwide.

About 37 million deaths are attributable to non-communicable diseases and is increasing rapidly, affecting also the poor and needy.

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