Insights into leading causes of death in Rwanda

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 13 May 2024 at 09:50

Non-communicable diseases claimed the most lives in Rwanda in 2023, a new report by the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda (NISR) shows.

The annual report indicates that in 2023, 32,853 deaths were documented in the civil registration system across the country, with non-communicable illnesses accounting for 46 per cent of the deaths, up from 45 per cent in 2022. The chronic diseases include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and schizophrenia.

The second-largest causes of death in the country were infectious and parasitic diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, and measles; maternal and perinatal causes, including maternal haemorrhage and birth trauma; and malnutrition, which represented 43 per cent of the deaths registered in 2023, down from 46 per cent in 2022.

Injuries from accidents accounted for 11 per cent of the deaths registered in 2023, representing an increase of 3 per cent from the 2022 statistics.

The report further shows that of the 32,853 deaths documented in 2023, 53.8 per cent occurred outside health facilities

Mortality statistics show a high number of registered deaths among males compared to females, with a sex ratio at death equivalent to 121.1 male deaths per 100 female deaths in 2023, almost the same as the result in 2022 (122.2).

In 2023, the Northern Province led with the highest number of registered deaths at 8,271, followed by Kigali (7,818), the Southern Province (6,819), the Eastern Province (6,135), and the Western Province (3,509). A total of 301 deaths were not attributed to any province.

In terms of districts, Gasabo District recorded the highest number of deaths due to its high population density, with 1,682, followed by Nyagatare with 1,552 and Rubavu with 1,465. Gicumbi District had 1,415, Musanze District had 1376 deaths, Bugesera District had 1305, followed by Gakenke District with 1242.

Other districts that recorded more than 1,000 deaths were Gatsibo (1,212), Kamonyi (1,203), Muhanga (1,194), Rwamagana (1,119), Nyamasheke (1,099), Rulindo (1,062) and Nyaruguru (1,049).

In terms of the age of the deceased persons, most deaths were recorded within the age bracket of five years and below, followed by persons aged 80 years and above. NISR attributed this trend to the high risk of death at early ages, particularly at birth.