Suicide in the Dar es Salaam region, Tanzania, 2005

J Forensic Leg Med. 2008 Apr;15(3):172-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2007.06.002. Epub 2007 Sep 18.


Suicide surveillance was launched at the Muhimbili National Hospital mortuary in Dar es Salaam Region, Tanzania from 1st January to 31st December, 2005 to determine its magnitude and characteristics. Following the WHO guidelines with minor modifications, information on sex, dates of birth and death, places of residence and death, occupation, reasons and means of suicide were collected. There were 65 (2.3 per 100,000 population) suicides recorded in 2005. The suicide rate for males was 3.4/100,000 and for females was 1.2/100,000 which maybe some of the lowest rates ever reported in the world. The mean age at suicide was 32.9 (SD=13.1) years. Males were about three times more likely to commit suicide as females. The main motive behind suicide was recorded for 26 (40%) victims as family-related and for 11 (17%) as health related. Although there was a wide range of ages at which people committed suicide, the average age seems to be very low. Since reasons for suicide are coated with family problems, strategies to improve awareness of psychological and mental health services and to provide alternative economic and social support networks are advocated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Asphyxia / mortality
  • Burns / mortality
  • Child
  • Family Conflict / psychology
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data
  • Poisoning / mortality
  • Sex Distribution
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tanzania / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality