Mortality rates and causes of death in different countries vary greatly throughout the world, and can shed a lot of light onto living conditions, economic development, and healthcare infrastructure in particular places. This is the main reason why we are evaluating causes of death and mortality rates, as it gives us a clearer picture of the human welfare development within specific areas.
Many may believe that communicable causes of death (those that can spread from one individual to another) are the primary drivers of high mortality rates typical of third world countries. This, however, isn’t always necessarily the case.
Zimbabwe is one of the many countries that for years existed under the governance of the British monarch and Union Jack. Upon independence, however, local conflicts within the new government allowed safety and infrastructure to become rapidly compromised. A turnaround began in 1980 when the country’s new, more stable government found itself capable of accomplishing quick economic growth.
Subsequent to the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act from 2001, with which the United States Congress aimed to promote economic development and the growth of the Zimbabwean nation, the state’s welfare worsened yet again. Despite its intended effects, the recovery act and other reforms could not curtail a new wave of problems, as inflation reached 66,000 percent in 2007, a widespread cholera outbreak occurred, and shortages of many necessary resources shook the nations at its core. Medical and food supplies became incredibly problematic during this period and, due to these shortages, the country’s health system degraded. In 2012, Zimbabwe topped the global charts for many undesirable statistics, including death caused by communicable diseases (711 deaths per 100,000 people). The UN has stated that the state of Zimbabwe has improved in recent years due to global collaboration in humanitarian aid, though the situation for many Zimbabweans remains precarious at best.
The Big Four of South Africa
South Africa is famous as a country that has splendid natural beauty and a fast-developing economy. Unfortunately, it occupies second place in the 2012 Death by Communicable Diseases Chart. With a rate of 512 deaths per 100,000 people, the biggest and most serious communicable diseases that plague the country include the following “Big Four”:
- HIV/AIDS (6.1 million people were infected with HIV in 2012).
- Malaria (the IRS reported that in 2012, more than 40 percent of the population lived at risk of being infected).
- Hepatitis B (according to recent data, three to four million native males are being infected with this chronic virus per year).
- Tuberculosis (according to WHO 450,000 active cases were present in the country in 2013 while 89,000 died from this sickness in 2012).
Afghanistan after the War
It is no surprise that during and after the war in Afghanistan, the country experienced difficulties in trying to maintain living standards and a quality healthcare service infrastructure. The country also ranks high among the places that feature the biggest number of deaths caused by communicable diseases. Afghanistan takes the third place in the mortality rate for such causes, with 363 deaths per 100,000 people.
In 2012, the fight against communicable diseases was still going as strong as ever. While polio cases have been virtually eliminated in their entirety, other deadly conditions are still pose serious health threats in Afghanistan, including tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Nonetheless, while their rates are still abnormally high, counter-measures by the IRS, WHO and other organizations have proven relatively effective in terms of limiting mortality and improving the access to, and quality of, Afghani healthcare.
As already mentioned, communicable diseases aren’t solely plaguing third world countries. Though the chart is topped by Zimbabwe, South Africa, Afghanistan and India, developed countries are not immune, and Russia, Turkey, Germany, France and Japan are all to some degree struggling with these conditions as well.
Globally, the fight against communicable diseases continues. With the help of developed countries, African and Asian nations, as well as other places plagued with such ailments, are finding new opportunities to harness technological and medicinal ingenuity to promote the recovery of afflicted individuals.