Infectious Diseases, Malaria and other chronic diseases like Hypertension and Stroke are among the leading causes of death in Sierra Leone, Report on the Causes of Death in Sierra Leone reveals.
The Report done by Healthy Sierra Leone- HEAL SL, a collaborative work by the Ministry of Health, Njala University and the Center for Global Health Research at the University of Toronto.
Even though death is inevitable, most death occurring in Sierra Leone in every age group could be avoided with proven public health interventions or practical clinical treatment. Thus, the cause of death research highlights areas where Sierra Leone’s health system and other aspect of society needs to be strengthen. The research which covers the period from 2018 to 2023 is a call to action that looks into diseases leading to death in the country, risks of death for major conditions among others.
Findings of the report indicates deaths before age 70 from 2018 to 2023, fully one-quarter of those who died succumbed to a single infection, malaria, an infection that can not only be prevented but can be cured with effective treatments in nearly all cases. Additional one quarter of the deaths before age 70 were attributed to other common infections, causing Diarrhea, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis which are also preventable and treatable.
The Report further indicates that one in ten of all deaths occurred during the first month of life, half of which are in the first week. Additional one in four of all deaths occurred before age five.
Before age 70 the other leading causes of deaths includes heart diseases and stroke, digestive diseases, liver disease and road traffic accidents. The date furthered revealed that about 75,000 Sierra Leoneans have died in 2023 of which nearly 80 percent of these deaths occurred before aged 70, representing one of the highest national premature mortality rates in the world.
While other infections accounted for 17,500 (29%), malaria accounts for 14,000 (23%), other chronic diseases 8,300 (14%), neonatal 8,300 (14%) for major causes of deaths before age 70% in 2023.
Speaking the importance of the research jointly conduction by Njala University, Vice Chancellor of Njala University Pro. Bashiru Koroma noted the data contain within the research represent more than just numbers, adding that behind it statistic lies a human history, a life cut short, a family in mourning, a community affected by lost.
The causes of death report he furthered provides critical insights into the health status of Sierra Leone’s population, helping in identifying areas were interventions are needed most urgently.
Director General of the National Civil Registration Authority the body charged with the mandate of accounting vital inventories Mohamed Massaquoi noted the work of Healthy Sierra Leone complements their work to providing national coverage to sample bases to enable NCRA know which age groups and areas of benefit for extra push to register death.
Launching the report on behalf of the Vice President, Deputy Minister of Health 1, Prof. Charles Senessie noted the findings of the report area a call to action. He continued that the report highlights areas where Sierra Leone’s health system and other aspect of society need to be strengthen, where resources must be focused and policies needed to be adapted. She furthered pledge commitment to using the information guide government’s decisions and actions, noting data are not just numbers, they are tools for change, a means to save lives and a pathway to a healthier future for all Sierra Leoneans.