Bacterial Meningitis, an infection that affects the lining of the brain and spinal cord, breaks out frequently in the Meningitis Belt in sub-Saharan Africa. The Meningitis belt consists of twenty-six countries extending from the Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east.
#9 – Protein-Energy Malnutrition
The only image most people have of Africa is of children with stick-thin legs, large bellies, and large heads. While Africa has so much more to offer, the reality exists that thousands of children in Africa die yearly from protein -energy malnutrition.
Children, pregnant women and the elderly develop kwashiorkor or marasmus due to the lack of food and education, poverty and inadequate agriculture production.
#8- Ischemic Heart Disease
Modernisation is quickly creeping into every civilization; the African continent has not escaped its clutches. Increasing number of Africans are now buying into convenience food, chowing down on burgers, chicken fried in gallons of oil and pre-packaged meals.
As a result, the rich man diseases of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity have been on the increase. These diseases all lead to ischemic heart disease which results in thousands of deaths per year.
#7 – Birth Asphyxia and Trauma
Thousands, millions of African women each year go through the heart rendering pain of delivering stillbirths or seeing the death of their newborns within weeks of giving birth.
Birth asphyxia, deprivation of oxygen during the birthing process, leads to the deaths of millions of babies in Africa annually. The African continent is responsible for 25% of the deaths of the newborn deaths that occur in the world.
#6 – Pre-term Birth Complications
Thousands of women in Africa suffer from pre-term birth complications daily. Inability to access proper healthcare and the right diet causes many women to prematurely give birth to their babies.
Babies who survive the initial birthing process, usually die within weeks of being born as women are poorly educated on neonatal care and the babies are born with defects that the healthcare system does not have the capacity to care for.
#5 – Stroke
A person suffers from a stroke when their brain is deprived of oxygen or a blood vessel bursts in the head. Africa has seen an increase in the number of hospital admissions for stroke in recent years.
Data shows that forty-five percent of non-communicable disease deaths in Nigeria are because of stroke. In Ethiopia, eleven percent of all deaths are because of strokes. Poverty and the inability to access health care continue to increase these numbers annually.
#4 – Malaria
Buzzzz, you better get rid of those mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carry some of the most harmful viruses, one of them being Malaria. Parasites transmitted into the blood by the Anopheles mosquitoes destroy red blood cells which lead to death in many cases.
Children are often the casualties of these infections. In 2015, 292 000 children under the age of five years old died from malaria on the African continent. According to WHO, every 2 minutes a child dies from Malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
#3 – Diarrhoea
Yes! Having the runs can lead to death. Persons living in sub-Saharan Africa contract diarrhea from drinking dirty water or using contaminated water to irrigate their farms.
Diarrhea causes hydration which when left untreated results in death. Although diarrhea is fairly easy to treat, individuals do not have access to health care services and they do not have enough education to know how to properly treat illnesses at home.
#2 – Respiratory Infections
Individuals with the majority being children are inflicted with pneumonia, bronchitis, and influenza daily. The bacteria that transmit these infections live in the sand and so there are high cases of these infections in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2012, 2.4% of deaths reported were due to respiratory infections.
#1 – HIV/AIDS
This deadly virus is the leading killer in Africa. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus transmitted via blood transfusion, sexual intercourse, attacks the immune system. Persons then become vulnerable to other infections and viruses in their environment.
Africa has more than 50% of the individuals living with HIV in the world. In 2015, 470,000 persons died from AIDS South and East Africa and 19 million persons are currently living with the virus.