South African Government Pretoria
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Registration of live births improves… … but not every pregnancy results to a live birth and not every live birth survives

The Recorded live births 2013-2015 and the Perinatal deaths 2014, reports released by Statistics South Africa indicate that of the 1 084 511 birth registrations in 2015, 87,7% of these were current registrations, while 12,3% were late registrations, while 21 908 perinatal deaths were recorded in 2014. The two reports on recorded live births and perinatal deaths were compiled from the civil registration system of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

From a total of 1 158 622 births registered in 2013; 84,9% were current registrations and 15,1% were late registrations. In 2014 there was a total of 1 142 275 births registered and 86,8% were current registrations, while 13,2% were late registrations. This shows that current registrations are improving. In 2013, there were 939 011 births registered in the year of occurrence; this increased to 954 385 birth registrations in 2014. For the year 2015 current birth registrations decreased to 919 562.

Timeliness of birth registration improved for the births that occurred since 2013; 55,5% were registered during the first 30 completed days of life, whilst 29,3% were registered after 30 days but before one year. In 2014, 60,1% of births were registered within the 30 days, and 26,7% of births registered occurred after 30 days but not later than one year. In 2015, the percentage of births registered within 30 days was 65,1% and 22,6% by the end of one year.

While there has been an increase in registration of live births, the perinatal deaths also indicate a 3,6% decline from the 22 274 perinatal deaths for 2013. In 2014, about two-thirds (65,8%) of perinatal deaths were stillbirths and the remaining one-third early neonatal deaths (34,2%). The estimated mortality rates ranged from 6,2 early neonatal deaths per 1 000 live births; 11,8 stillbirths per 1 000 total births to a national perinatal rate of 17,9 perinatal deaths per 1 000 total births.

The recorded live births data shows that over the three year period most birth occurrences were among women aged 20-24 years followed by women aged 25-29 years, comprising just over 50% collectively. It is therefore not surprising that at least half of the women that experienced perinatal deaths in 2014 were aged 20-29 years. Thus it is important to recognize that age at birth of the mother and the likelihood of experiencing a perinatal death could be associated.

Almost all perinatal deaths are preventable if a woman receives quality care which includes four or more antenatal care visits, delivers in a health care facility, attended by a skilled birth attendant and how she delivers.

Issued by: Statistics South Africa

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