The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its list of leading causes of death worldwide and has issued a fact sheet to explain the changes that have occurred between 2000 and 2011.

It said heart diseases, stroke, lower respiratory infections, chronic obstructive lung disease, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS, trachea, bronchus and lung cancers, diabetes mellitus, road injury and prematurity have remained the top 10 major killers during the past decade.

The WHO fact sheet on leading causes of death, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency over the weekend, said tuberculosis is no longer among the 10 leading causes of death, but is still among the top 15, killing one million people in 2011.

It said cardiovascular diseases remain the number one cause of death throughout the world as it claimed the lives of nearly 17 million people in 2011,  that is 3 in every 10 deaths;  and of these, 7 million people died of ischaemic heart disease and 6.2 million from stroke.

?Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were responsible for two-thirds of all deaths globally in 2011, up from 60 per cent in 2000 and the four main NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases.

Communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutrition conditions collectively were responsible for a quarter of global deaths and injuries caused 9 per cent of all deaths.

?Non-communicable diseases caused increasing numbers of deaths worldwide. Lung cancers (along with trachea and bronchus cancers) caused 1.5 million (2.7 per cent) deaths in 2011, up from 1.2 million (2.2 per cent) deaths in 2000. Similarly, diabetes caused 1.4 million (2.6 per cent) deaths in 2011, up from 1.0 million (1.9 per cent) deaths in 2000,? it said.

The WHO fact sheet said road traffic accidents claimed nearly 3500 lives each day in 2011 ? about 700 more than in the year 2000, making it among the top 10 leading causes in 2011.

It stated that prematurity claimed 200 000 fewer infant lives in 2011 than in 2000, but remains among the 10 leading causes of death.

It said in terms of number of deaths, 26 million (nearly 80 per cent) of the 36 million of global NCD deaths in 2011 occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

?In terms of proportion of deaths that are due to NCDs, high-income countries have the highest proportion, 87 per cent of all deaths were caused by NCDs, followed by upper-middle income countries (81 per cent).

?The proportions are lower in low-income countries (36 per cent) and lower-middle income countries (56 per cent).

The WHO fact sheet said ?tobacco use remains a major cause of many of the world?s top killer diseases ? including cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive lung disease and lung cancer?.

It said in total, tobacco use is responsible for the death of about 1 in 10 adults worldwide; declaring that smoking is often the hidden cause of the disease recorded as responsible for death.

It said: ?In low-income countries, nearly 4 in every 10 deaths are among children under 15 years, and only 2 in every 10 deaths are among people aged 70 years and older?.

Source: GNA


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