The fact that more men than women die due to HIV means that women are doing better at getting tested and going on treatment.
This is the view of US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) country director Dr Eric Dziuban following the recent launch of the 2016/2017 report on mortality and causes of death in Namibia.
The report, compiled by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) and launched by health Minister Kalumbi Shangula, stated that HIV remains the leading cause of death among all age groups.
“The finding that more men than women die from HIV becomes even more relevant when one considers that there are more women than men living with HIV in Namibia,” said Dziuban.
He added that they have seen on the ground that men are often not reached as well for getting tested, and starting treatment as soon as possible.
“This data is a call to action to men to get tested and when needed, to get on treatment,” he suggested.
Dziuban said the CDC puts science and advanced technology into action to prevent disease.
“One of the critical ways we do that is to use data to better understand healthcare needs and challenges. The data published by the NSA is very valuable in understanding trends over recent years and we look forward to the follow-up reports that provide for the following years. We know in future versions of these statistics we’ll get a better understanding of the effect of new causes of death like Covid-19 also,” he noted.
The report shows deaths due to communicable diseases were mostly of HIV (136 per 100 000 population in 2016 and 124 per 100 000 population in 2017) and respiratory infections (74 per 100 000 population in 2016 and 71 per 100 000 population in 2017) while the least were due to TB (38 per 100 000 population in 2016 and 33 per 100 000 population in 2017).
The major cause of death in Namibia was communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions and accounted for 41.6 and 40.4% during 2016 and 2017.
The report on mortality and causes of death in Namibia is the first of its kind to be produced by the Namibia Statistics Agency since its establishment in April 2012.
Shangula said during the launch the report provides a baseline for the health ministry and the government at large to further interrogate and draft action plans to address issues.
“Most of the leading causes of deaths are preventable. I want to assure the Namibian nation that the ministry would use the report and the statistics to take action and improve the health status of the Namibian nation,” he said.