Leading Causes Of Death In Papua New Guinea

The rural landscape of Papua New Guinea.
The rural landscape of Papua New Guinea.

Health in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is an oceanic country with a population of around 7 million. It is home to over 852 known languages in the country and most of the population live in unique customary communities different from one other. However, the development of health infrastructure is not always up to the demand for it. The life expectancy is in the mid-60’s, which is below the international standard quality.

Leading Causes of Death

  • Cancer

Cancer is responsible for around 11% of total deaths. Cancer happens when cells grow uncontrollably and do not die. Numerous forms of cancer exist and the ones rising in this country are breast, cervical and oral cancer. Cervical cancer takes over 3,000 lives annually in Papua New Guinea. Due to low funding in the health department plenty of people continue to die from cancer and other diseases. Liver cancer is also quite common as it is associated with chronic hepatitis-B infection. Most of these diseases occur in the rural areas, where the majority of the population resides.

  • Lower-Respiratory Infection

Plenty of children suffer from respiratory disease in Papua New Guinea. One of the major respiratory diseases plaguing the country is pneumonia. Pneumonia is a disease in which lung inflammation occurs due to bacterial or viral infection. Despite its high numbers, it has improved in recent years due to the slight increase in health care. 17% of deaths in Papua New Guinea are due to Lower-Respiratory infections. A speculated reason for why this is such a problem is because of early and dense colonization with numerous different types of species that had different genes and strains of respiratory pathogens.

  • Tuberculosis

Amounting for a grand total of 4% of the deaths in Papua New Guinea, the effects of this disease are evident in the region. It is an air-borne disease caused by the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis. According to this graph provided by the World Health Organization, the mortality rates due to Tuberculosis were on a decline as of 2014. However, the disease made a comeback in 2016, with a new epidemic breaking out in the island of Daru, where about 1% of the population was infected by a drug-resistant strain of the virus. Similar to the Lower-respiratory infection, dense population distributions lead to easier transmission of this air-borne disease.

Health Care Facilities

Since the late 80's there has been evidence that there are plenty of deficits in the health department of the country, particularly in rural areas. Tropical diseases are significant as they continue to worsen. Despite there being modern medical systems, they are not utilized as they should be since they have had reduced effectiveness in the country since the 80's because the health workers have limited skills and access to resources. Majority of the budget on health is spent on urban areas even though that majority of the population and health problems are in rural areas.

Leading Causes Of Death In Papua New Guinea

RankLeading Cause Of Death% Of Total Deaths
1Lower-Respiratory Infection 17%
2Cancer 11%
3Diabetes 7%
4Tuberculosis 4%
5Ischemic Heart Disease 4%
6Chronic Kidney Disease 3%
8Stroke 3%
9Diarrheal Diseases 3%
10HIV 2%

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