Clustering of under-five mortality in Rufiji Health and Demographic Surveillance System in rural Tanzania

Type Journal Article - Global Health Action
Title Clustering of under-five mortality in Rufiji Health and Demographic Surveillance System in rural Tanzania
Volume 3
Issue Supplement 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Page numbers 42-49
Background: Less than 5 years remain before the 2015 mark when countries will be evaluated on their achievements for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDG 4 and 6 call for a reduction of child mortality by two-thirds and combating malaria, HIV/AIDS, TB, and other diseases, respectively. To accelerate the achievement of these goals, focused allocation of resources and high deployment of costeffective interventions is paramount. The knowledge of spatial and temporal distribution of diseases is important for health authorities to prioritize and allocate resources. Methods: To identify possible significant clusters, we used SatTScan software, and analyzed 2,745 cases of under-five with 134,099 person-years for the period between 1999and 2008. Mortality rates for every year were calculated, likewise a spatial scan statistic was used to test for clusters of total under-five mortalities in both space and time. Results: A number of significant clusters from space, time, and spacetime analysis were identified in several locations for a period of 10 years in the Rufiji Demographic Surveillance Site (RDSS). These locations show that villages within the clusters have an elevated risk of under-five deaths. The spatial analysis identified three significant clusters. The first cluster had only one village, Kibiti A (pB0.05, the second cluster involved five villages (Mtawanya, Pagae, Kibiti A, Machepe, and Kibiti B; pB0.05), the third cluster involved one village, Jaribu Mpakani (pB0.05). A spacetime cluster of 10 villages for the period between 1999 and 2002 with a radius of 14.73 km was discovered with the highest risk (RR 1.6, pB0.001). The mortality rates were very high for the years 19992002 according to the analysis. The death rates were 33.5, 26.4, 24.1, and 24.9, respectively. Total childhood mortality rates calculated for the period of 10 years were 21.0 per 1,000 personyears. Conclusion: During the 10 years of analysis, mortality seemed to decrease in RDSS. The mortality decline should be taken with caution because the Demographic Surveillance System is not statistically representative
of the whole population; therefore, inference should not be made to the general population of Tanzania. The pattern observed could be attributed to demographic and weather characteristics of RDSS. This should provide new insights for further studies and interventions toward reducing under-five mortality.

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