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African Population Studies
Union for African Population Studies
ISSN: 0850-5780
Vol. 19, No. 2, 2004, pp. 165-177
Bioline Code: ep04040
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Population Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2004, pp. 165-177

 en The Impact of External Causes on South Africa's Expectation of Life
Mba, Chuks J.


The paper examines the deleterious effect of external causes, especially road accidents and suicidal behaviour, on South Africa's expectation of life for possible policy interventions. Employing the multiple and associated single decrement life table techniques, the study estimates the total number of South Africans who would eventually die from external causes by the time they reach age 75 from a hypothetical cohort of 100,000 live births, on the assumption that the mortality conditions of 1996 prevailed. The results of the analysis show that if the prevailing mortality conditions continued throughout their life span, about 9.1 % of the population might eventually die from external causes by the time they attain age 75. This is very high, as demonstrated also by a tremendous gain in life expectancy to the tune of about 17 years that would result in the absence of external causes. Disabilities result from some of these external causes, especially injuries sustained during road accidents, which in turn impact adversely on the economic condition of the victims. This is because the disabled person is unable to work and earn a living, and therefore cannot take care of himself and his dependents. The end result is the perpetuation and worsening of poverty. It is suggested that both the people and government of South Africa should work together to bring about a substantial reduction in external causes of death with a view to ultimately raising the expectation of life of the citizens.

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