Sex-related inequalities in crude and age-standardized suicide rates: trends in Ghana from 2000 to 2019

Faustina Adoboi, Aliu Mohammed, Precious A Duodu, Richard Gyan Aboagye, Abdul-Aziz Seidu, Florence Gyembuzie Wongnaah, Bright Opoku Ahinkorah

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Suicide represents a major public health concern, affecting a significant portion of individuals. However, there remains a gap in understanding the age and sex disparities in the occurrence of suicide. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the sex-related inequalities in suicide rates in Ghana from 2000 to 2019.

We utilized data from the WHO Health Equity Assessment Toolkit (HEAT) online software. We analysed sex differences in both crude and age-standardized suicide rates in Ghana spanning from 2000 to 2019. Crude and age-adjusted suicide rates were calculated based on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) definition and coding of suicide mortality. We measured inequality in terms of sex. Two inequality indicators were used to examine the suicide rates: the difference (D) and the ratio (R).

Age-standardized and crude suicide rates in Ghana were higher among men from 2000 to 2019. Between 2000 and 2007, the age-standardized suicide rate for women rose steadily and declined slightly between 2008 and 2019. Age-standardized suicide rates for men increased consistently from 2000 to 2010, then declined steadily from 2011 to 2019. The crude suicide rates among men and women followed similar patterns. The widest absolute inequality in crude suicide rates (D) was recorded in 2013 (D=-11.91), while the smallest difference was observed in 2000 (D=-7.16). We also found the greatest disparity in age-standardized rates in 2011 (D=-21.46) and the least in 2000 (D=-14.32). The crude suicide rates increased with age for both men and women aged 15–54 years and 55–85+ years respectively. However, the increased rate was higher in men than in women across all age groups surveyed. A similar pattern was observed for relative inequality in both crude and age-standardized rates of suicide.

The suicide rate in Ghana has declined over time. Suicide is more common among older men. Inequalities in suicide rates, in both absolute and relative terms, are similar. There is a need to monitor suicide trends in Ghana, especially among older men. Moreover, the findings could serve as a basis for future studies on suicide in Ghana.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1070
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date17 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Apr 2024

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