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Community causes of death in central Ghana, part of the missing mortality data

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Document pages: 6 pages

Abstract: Objective mortality data from hospitals in Ghana show that mortality trends are changing, and non communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases) replace communicable diseases as the main cause of death. Our goal is to identify and raise awareness of the causes of death in communities in central Ghana, while emphasizing the differences between data obtained from communities and data obtained from hospitals. Methods the mortality data from the autopsy of the coroner mainly provided the data of the causes of death in the community (out of hospital). A six-year retrospective descriptive study was conducted on the autopsy data of the coroner of Cape Coast teaching hospital. The various causes of death were classified by sexbroad headings (accidents injuries poisoning, cardiovascular, infections, metabolic, neoplasms, and others). Results. A total of 1187 autopsies were reviewed of which 990 (83.4 ) were Coroner’s cases. Of these Coroner’s cases, 719 (72.6 ) were male and 271 (27.4 ) were female. 521 (52.6 ) of victims were young adults (18–44 years), and majority of deaths were unnatural (due to accidents, injuries, and poisoning) (64.1 ), followed by the general category of others (15.3 ). Cardiovascular deaths (6.6 ) were fourth after infections (9.8 ). In the leading category, most deaths were due to road traffic accidents (50.4 ) as occupants of vehicles and motorcycles (28.7 ) and as pedestrians (21.7 ). Deaths due to road traffic accidents were followed by deaths due to drowning (14.96 ). Conclusion. Although noncommunicable diseases are still the leading causes of death outside the hospital, most of the deaths are due to road traffic accidents and drowning. This is at variance with hospital data that suggest that the leading noncommunicable diseases are cardiovascular disorders and cancer. Again, like data derived from hospitals, infections remain a major cause of death in the Central Region of Ghana. Studies combining the causes of death derived from Coroner’s autopsies and communities and from medical certificates of cause of death will present a better picture of the leading causes of death in the Central Region and reveal the true nature of noncommunicable diseases that currently form our largest disease burden.

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