The crude death rate of a population is the total number of deaths per year per 1,000 people, normally calculated using midyear population estimates. The crude death calculation does not include population losses resulting from emigration within the year for which the death rate is calculated. In order to the obtain a figure for ‘natural change’ in population, the method is to subtract the crude death rate from the crude birth rate in order to determine the natural increase. Certain countries having especially high death rates can be attributed to a number of factors. The three that are the most prevalent are the results of intentional death, HIV/AIDS, and other health conditions. Further, countries with an older average age of population will have higher numbers as well.
Violence and Intentional Deaths
Intentional death is often the result of homicide. In some countries, such as Swaziland and Botswana, the murder rates are especially high and on the rise. Data collected from such countries’ law enforcement agencies provides information showing that South African countries such as Lesotho experience an especially high rate of intentional deaths. Ukraine has the second highest mortality rate of any European country and the second-highest worldwide, a number caused in part by the violence of the Ukrainian crisis. Indeed, zones of conflict help explain what fuels the intentional deaths behind high mortality rates. The case of Sierra Leone serves as an opposite example, as though it had among the top crude death rates in recent years it no longer makes the list of high global mortality rates since the end of the country’s civil war.
HIV and AIDS: Communicable Diseases Increasing Mortality
Another contributing factor to high death rates affecting such countries as the African nation of Zambia is the prevalence of the HIV virus and AIDS. The HIV health issue has grown to an enormous scale over the course of the past several decades, and many countries’ populations must face challenges related to this disease every day. The life expectancy for those who suffer from this debilitating disease is only 40 years, and many children of infected mothers are born infected themselves. This same issue affects many of the European countries making the list. Ukraine once had one of the fastest spreading HIV/AIDS epidemics on the European continent, and though this has been mitigated over the years the effects still show in the country’s mortality rate. HIV/AIDS-related deaths are also a serious concern in Russia, Latvia, and Estonia.
Healthcare Concerns and Other Major Diseases
Issues in delivering adequate medical care in order to combat a variety of other major diseases are the third major factor explaining some countries’ high mortality rates. In Bulgaria, which has the third highest mortality rate globally, most citizens die from heart disease or stoke. This trend affects other European countries suffering from inadequate healthcare facilities such as Lithuania and Serbia. Indeed, Ukraine and Belarus stand as among the countries with the highest rates of death due to coronary heart disease in the world. High infant mortality rates relative to the rest of Europe are also a major factor, hitting Bulgaria and Moldova especially. Inadequate healthcare also affects many African countries, with a high number of deaths due to otherwise preventable diseases such as influenza and tuberculosis causing disturbing mortality rates in top-ranked countries such as Guinea-Bissau, Chad, and the Central African Republic.
Mitigating High Mortality Rates
Countries with the highest death rates often see issues resulting in high mortality which have the potential for being mitigated. In order to remedy these problems, there will need to be far-reaching healthcare system reforms in the most afflicted of countries and a significant amount of work in ending violent conflict where it currently occurs. Intentional death rates raise many related issues including international and civil relations, reasons behind violent crime, and even questions about weapons and gun control. For the sake of generations to come, campaigns focusing on the prevention and awareness of HIV/AIDS are vital, as are those seeking to eliminate preventable deaths from diseases such as influenza and tuberculosis. It is not only preventative knowledge, however, that is necessary in these circumstances. Further still, implementation of higher health standards in relation to HIV must be set forth and acted upon, and major structural changes to the healthcare systems of many countries will have to come about.
All this can prove complicated and time- and resource-intensive. It will take time to remedy the issue of high rates of intentional death because, just as these problems have been occurring for a long time, the solutions will similarly take a long time to bring positive outcomes to fruition. Life-threatening violence leading to intentional deaths and health issues such as HIV/AIDS and heart disease are among the top drivers for high death rates in these countries. When these reasons are put into perspective, countries can then begin to take the steps necessary to remedy the situation. One of the most effective means to do so appears to be by focusing on better public education, but it's not simply just forming good plans that matter. Indeed, success ultimately relies on effectively putting proposed ideas into action.