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Noise in Africa mainly from churches is this the cause for the highest suicide rates in the world?

The African continent has a mental health & suicide problem as well as severe noise pollution

By IwriteMywrongsPublished about a year ago 5 min read
Noise in Africa mainly from churches is this the cause for the highest suicide rates in the world?
Photo by John de Jong on Unsplash

According to a website called 'World Health Rankings,' out of the top 10 countries with the highest suicide rates 6 are in Africa. They are #1 Lesotho, #3 Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), #7 Zimbabwe, #8 South Africa, #9 Mozambique, #10 Central African Republic.

Suicide rates in the WHO African (11.2 per 100 000), European (10.5 per 100 000) and South-East Asia (10.2 per 100 000) regions were higher than the global average (9.0 per 100 000) in 2019. The lowest suicide rate was in the Eastern Mediterranean region (6.4 per 100 000).

Source: World Health Organization

There is no doubt that in many African countries there is an extreme noise pollution problem. So much so that some African immigrants have been surprised by the lack of noise in countries in the west or east that they've emigrated to.

The culture shock is much the same for people who moved to African countries. In one such article the issues of noise caused by churches was written, within the article there are screenshots from a Ghana expat group. The residents discuss the amount of noise from churches, not only in Ghana but other countries such as Togo and Nigeria.

By Josh Eckstein on Unsplash

There have been some efforts made by some governments in Africa to curb the noise pollution. Such as in Uganda where a law has been implemented to punish those making the most noise in the capital city of Kampala. Uganda is ranked #16 on list according to source.

Kampala reels under burden of unbearable noise and air pollution

Uganda’s Noise Standards and Control Regulations restrict noise levels to 40 decibels in residential areas and 60 decibels in commercial areas.

In my estimates, however, this particular church – and indeed most churches in Kampala – emit noise levels not below 100 decibels at any one time. According to Ugandan law, this is an offence punishable by up to 18 months in jail or a fine of up to Ush18 million – or both.

Source: The East African

In Nigeria one resident placed a speaker on the wall of where he lives and faced it towards the church that always disturbs him with their noise. He would blast the radio playing Cardi B's song 'WAP'.

A Twitter user has shared a photo of a sound system a friend placed in the direction of a church that usually disturbs him in the morning even on weekdays.

According to @ebelee_, her friend began playing Cardi B's "WAP" after placing the sound system on the fence demarcating the two compounds.

Source: Linda Ikeji's Blog

Authors Photo

Pictured above on the left is 23 year old late Wilson Ogenche, whom completed suicide in Kenya in 2021. Wilson is one of the many whom have completed suicide in Kenya, due to severe poverty, untreated mental illnesses and hopelessness. Many are raised to not talk about their feelings, especially African men.

In 2022 Kenya realized they also have a suicide problem within their police force. Where over 2,000 officers were found mentally unfit and some 55 officers completed suicide. One was a murder suicide where the officer also shot 5 others, including killing his wife.

The current look of Africa's mental health is gloomy, and despite tries, the situation has not changed. Africa has 1.4 mental health workers per 100 000 people, a low figure beside the global average of 9 workers per 100 000 people [2]. Also, there has been a very small number of practising psychiatrists.

In Sierra Leone, it is estimated that 98% of people lack access to mental health care.

The demand for mental health treatments in Africa has increased recently. Africa's population increased by 49% over the previous two decades

The sociocultural bias toward mental health disorders remains an age-long barrier to seeking care and has been a global problem. Mental health patients are considered dangerous, and 82% of the population would decline in their fundamental social interactions.

Source: National Library of Medicine

Findings on a study of news pollution performed in Accra, Ghana.

Novel approaches to characterize environmental noise pollution and its sources in rapidly developing cities: Application to the sub-Saharan African city of Accra, Ghana

Cities in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are growing at a faster rate than in any other continent. Numerous transport, industrial, and commercial sources of environmental noise pollution may be present, however, little is known about the levels and patterns of noise and its sources in SSA cities.Methods: We deployed an extensive monitoring campaign to characterize the space-time patterns of environmental noise and identify sources in the city of Accra, Ghana. We measured and analyzed sound level data and audio from ~150 locations that were monitored for either 7-days (n=140 locations) or 1-year (n=10 locations) from April 2019 to May 2020. We calculated metrics of environmental noise including A-weighted 24hr, day, and night sound levels.

Source: Environmental Health Perspectives

Mozambique also has issues with noise pollution, there has been a law on the books for 15 years but according to news outlets it's not being enforced. According to a March 2022 article there was recently notice of this law circulating on social media.

From this same news outlet they pointed to an earlier article from 2017 that shows this law isn't being enforced. That tends to be the issue within many African countries, most of their laws are rarely enforced.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says that noise pollution is an “underestimated threat that can cause a number of short and long-term health problems, such as, for example, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular effects, poorer work and school performance, [and] hearing impairment”.

Source: Africa Press

A woman in Malawi goes into a make shift church to confront them about their loud music. In the video the church members are insulting her, yet she's screaming about how their loud music is causing depression. Sadly many living in Africa are afraid to have such confrontations, those don't want to be accused of being ungodly.

Malawi is ranked #63 on the list.

Eswatini (Formerly Swaziland)


MBABANE – Some excessively loud noise coming from a liquor shop and a church has jeopardized tourism, prompting the Lubombo Conservancy (LC) to lodge complaints.The noise affects wild animals and tourists who book into hotels and lodges situated in the area.

This was eventually investigated by the Eswatini Environmental Authority (EEA), which recommended that a fine was paid by the owner of the shop.

The complaints were basically around the loud noise which was frustrating tourists visiting the lodges around that area, more so because it went on throughout the night and at some point up to 6am.

Source: Times of Swaziland

There definitely seems to be a correlation between the noise pollution and mental health issues, as well as other health issues. When millions of Africans are struggling they go to God, which pushes many to attend church. Churches that are even make-shift and set on the roadside.

Unregulated noise laws cause churches and bars to create as much noise as they want, this causes more issues with citizens. The mentality that mental health isn't a real issues causes even further concern. The World Health Organization is sounding the alarm on the crisis on the African continent.

Thank you for reading 🙏🏽 Please consider buying a coffee for Lacey's House efforts in Gender Equality & Children's Rights as it tries to move international.

©️TB Obwoge 2022 All Rights Reserved

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About the Creator


I'm the president of a nonprofit. I've lived in 3 countries, I love to travel, take photos and help children and women around the world! One day I pray an end to Child Marriages, Rape and a start to equal Education for ALL children 🙏🏽

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