Angola is a country in Southern Africa on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The nation has a long and storied history that includes its former status as a colony of the European nation of Portugal. After gaining its independence in 1975, the African country has endured many periods of violence and political unrest including the ravages suffered during the Angolan Civil War from 1975 to 2002. Despite having an abundance of natural resources such as oil and diamonds the World Fact Book notes that most of Angola’s population experiences a low standard of living. The country also has one of the worst life expediencies in the world with especially high rates of infant death. Here is an overview of the top causes of death in Angola according to the Center for Disease Control.
The Vital Statistics Of The Population Of Angola
According to a 2014 census the population of Angola numbers at 25,789,024. The ethnic makeup of the nation includes native African groups such as the Ovimbundu, Ambundu, and Bakongo along with small minorities of Mestiço, Chinese, and those citizens of European descent. Children under fifteen years of age make up about 46.6% of Angola’s total population, those aged fifteen to 65 number comprise 50.9% while seniors over 65 represent only 2.5% of the country’s population.
Statistics from the World Health Rankings show that the life expectancy for the average man living in Angola is 50.9 years while for females it’s slightly higher at 54. Despite these sobering numbers it should be noted that life spans for Angolan residents have improved with citizens living longer than at earlier times in the country’s history. In 1960, for example, the average life expectancy for men was only 31.7 years with women living just three years more at 34.7 years of age. Currently, adult mortality rates number at approximately 11.49 per thousand while infant mortality is significantly higher at 38.78 per thousand births.
The reasons for Angola’s poor life expectancy rate are complex and include a variety of factors such as widespread poverty, civil violence, food shortages, political unrest, and lack of adequate medical services. Among the leading causes of death in the country include conditions such as diarrheal disease, lower respiratory infection, malaria, malnutrition, AIDS, meningitis, and ischemic heart disease.
The number one cause of death in Angola is the diarrhoeal disease which, according to the World Health Organization, is also the second leading cause of death among kids under the age of five. The disease is fatal due to the fact that it deprives the body of the water and salt necessary to sustain life. This condition is especially dangerous when combined with other serious health problems like malnutrition or HIV infection.
Preterm Birth Complications
Due to its status as a country with a high rate of infant mortality residents of Angola must cope with a number of health care issues associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and early childhood development. Pregnant women in Angola risk preterm birth due to factors such as high blood pressure, infection, diabetes, and multiple pregnancies. Babies born before 37 weeks are at increased risk of having various preterm complications including breathing problems, infection, as well as physical and mental disabilities. The World Health Organization cites low-income populations as well as a lack of proper health care to be major factors which contribute to the deaths of preterm babies. According to statistics from WHO over 60% of preterm births occur on the continents of Africa and southern Asia.
HIV/AIDS and TB
Angola has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world, although its rates are lower than many of its Southern African counterparts. TB infection is another concern in Angola.
Another significant killer in Angola is malaria which involves parasites which are spread by mosquitoes. Like a great many diseases malaria is not only preventable but also can be cured. According to the World Health Organization children under five are at the greatest risk of contracting malaria, and this segment of the population makes up 70% of deaths related to the disease. Malaria is a particular problem in South African countries because it’s transmitted by bites from infected female mosquitoes and in nations such as Angola these insects have a lengthy life span which gives the parasite sufficient time to develop.