Violence, roads major causes of deaths

Violence and transport-related deaths are still major causes of non-natural deaths in the country, a report on the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System revealed yesterday.

Violence and transport-related deaths are still major causes of non-natural deaths in the country, a report on the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System revealed yesterday.

Launching the 2007 report, project leader Ashley van Niekerk from the Medical Research Council and Unisa said of the 33513 injuries registered at 39 mortuaries in seven provinces, violence accounted for 36 percent, and transport-related deaths for 32 percent.

He said the violence-related deaths appeared to have decreased, while those related to transport were considered problematic.

"What is becoming distinctively problematic as well is the steady increase of traffic fatalities," he said.

Van Niekerk said some of this could be understood in the light of large number of cars on the roads and an inadequate infrastructure.

"This is likely to escalate to such an extent that by 2010 we're going to have really bad problems."

He said men, especially those aged between 24 and 44, "by far" made up the greatest proportion of victims of a violent event and to a lesser extent traffic events. The ratio of male to female for violence-related deaths recorded by the mortuaries was seven to one.

Cape Town recorded the highest murders, while the major cause of deaths in Johannesburg was murder and traffic.

Pretoria appeared to be the safest metropolitan area. However, it recorded the highest incidents of suicides. - Sapa

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