More than 1,200 people died from AIDS-related diseases in Zambia last year while more than 38,700 other people were diagnosed with the virus which causes AIDS.
A 2008 Economic Report indicate that 1,285 people who died from suspected AIDS were, however, fewer than the 1,417 people who died from the syndrome in 2007 mainly because of the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) provided free of charge by the Government.
“AIDS ranked ninth in terms of morbidity but was the leading cause of deaths in 2008. Deaths attributed to the disease, however, declined to 1,285 in 2008 from 1,417 in 2007.
“This overturn was largely attributed to the provision of free ARV drugs and prevention of mother-to-child- transmission (PMTCT),” the report states.
Accordng to the report the number of people accessing ART increased from 137,000 in 2007 to 206,680 but fell short of the targeted 220,000 people. The number of PMTC centres rose to 935 from 778 in 2007.
In terms of deaths, malaria was second and accounted for 1, 072 from the 957,878 people who had been diagnosed with the tropical disease, which is transmitted through mosquito bite.
That was, however, a great improvement from the 1,529 deaths and 1,114,274 diagnosis recorded in 2007.
Other diseases within the top 10 ranking were trauma caused by accidents, wounds and burns which all together claimed 192 lives in the year as opposed to the 121 lives they took the previous year.
A total of 69 people died from the skin infection-related diseases in 2008 as compared to 48 the previous year while the muscular skeletal and connective tissue-related illnesses claimed 12 lives.