Top Causes of Deaths in Africa and Other Low-Income Countries

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

Many people think that illnesses such as malaria and HIV/AIDS claim the most lives in low income countries, like those in Africa. The fact is, these ones do not even make it to top 3 of the top 10 causes of death as of 2016. But still, malaria (which is 6th on the list) poses a serious threat in sub-Saharan Africa: A report by World Health Organization (WHO) cited that malaria claimed at least 404,000 lives (which is 93% of total malaria deaths worldwide) within the region in 2017 with young children being the most affected.

On the top list of death causes: According to WHO factsheet, more than 50% of all deaths in low-income countries in 2016 were caused by conditions related to communicable diseases, childbirth complications, nutritional deficiencies, amongst others. But these conditions only represented less than 7% of death causes in high-income countries.

For government and donor organizations to effectively plan interventions whether from provisions in the budget or external funding to reduce mortality / death rates in Africa, it is necessary to first understand the biggest causes of deaths on the continent (see chart).

Source: Global Health Estimate, 2016


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Article Credit: Michael Adesanya

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