Mortality Level and Predictors in a Rural Ethiopian Population: Community Based Longitudinal Study

Type Journal Article - PloS One
Title Mortality Level and Predictors in a Rural Ethiopian Population: Community Based Longitudinal Study
Volume 9
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014

Over the last fifty years the world has seen enormous decline in mortality rates. However, in low-income countries, where vital registration systems are absent, mortality statistics are not easily available. The recent economic growth of Ethiopia and the parallel large scale healthcare investments make investigating mortality figures worthwhile.


Longitudinal health and demographic surveillance data collected from September 11, 2009 to September 10, 2012 were analysed. We computed incidence of mortality, overall and stratified by background variables. Poisson regression was used to test for a linear trend in the standardized mortality rates. Cox-regression analysis was used to identify predictors of mortality. Households located at <2300 meter and =2300 meter altitude were defined to be midland and highland, respectively.


An open cohort, with a baseline population of 66,438 individuals, was followed for three years to generate 194,083 person-years of observation. The crude mortality rate was 4.04 (95% CI: 3.77, 4.34) per 1,000 person-years. During the follow-up period, incidence of mortality significantly declined among under five (P<0.001) and 5–14 years old (P<0.001), whereas it increased among 65 years and above (P<0.001). Adjusted for other covariates, mortality was higher in males (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.22, 1.66), rural population (HR = 1.74, 95% CI: 1.32, 2.31), highland (HR = 1.20, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.40) and among those widowed (HR = 2.25, 95% CI: 1.81, 2.80) and divorced (HR = 1.80, 95% CI: 1.30, 2.48).


Overall mortality rate was low. The level and patterns of mortality indicate changes in the epidemiology of major causes of death. Certain population groups had significantly higher mortality rates and further research is warranted to identify causes of higher mortality in those groups.

Related studies