The West Bank in the Palestinian Territories is undergoing an epidemiologic transition. We provide a general description of mortality from all causes, focusing on chronic disease mortality in adults.
Mortality data analyzed for our study were obtained from the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the West Bank for 1999 through 2003. Individual information was obtained from death notification forms.
A total of 27,065 deaths were reported for 1999 through 2003 in the West Bank, Palestinian Territories. Circulatory diseases were the main cause of death (45%), followed by cancer (10%) and unintentional injuries (7%). Among men, the highest age-standardized mortality rates (ASMRs) were due to diseases of the circulatory system, cancer, and unintentional injuries. Among women, the highest ASMRs were due to circulatory disease, cancer, and diabetes mellitus. Of the circulatory diseases, the highest ASMRs for men were due to acute myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular disease. ASMRs attributable to circulatory system diseases were similar for women. Lung cancer was the largest cause of cancer mortality for men; breast cancer was the largest cause for women.
Because of the high mortality rates, the risk factors associated with chronic diseases in the Palestinian Territories must be ascertained. Medical and public health policies and interventions need to be reassessed, giving due attention to this rise in modern-day diseases in this area.