Background: Under-five mortality has been declining rapidly in a number of sub-Saharan African settings. Malaria-related mortality is known to be a major component of childhood causes of death and malaria remains a major focus of health interventions. The paper explored the contribution of malaria relative to other specific causes of under-five deaths to these trends. Methods. This paper uses longitudinal demographic surveillance data to examine trends and causes of death of under-five mortality in Rufiji, whose population has been followed for over nine years (1999-2007). Causes of death, determined by the verbal autopsy technique, are analysed with Arriaga's decomposition method to assess the contribution of declining malaria-related mortality relative to other causes of death as explaining a rapid decline in overall childhood mortality. Results: Over the 1999-2007 period, under-five mortality rate in Rufiji declined by 54.3%, from 33.3 to 15.2 per 1,000 person-years. If this trend is sustained, Rufiji will be a locality that achieves MDG4 target. Although hypotrophy at birth remained the leading cause of death for neonates, malaria remains as the leading cause of death for post-neonates followed by pneumonia. However, declines in malaria death rates accounted for 49.9% of the observed under-five mortality decline while all perinatal causes accounted for only 19.9%. Conclusion: To achieve MDG 4 in malaria endemic settings, health programmes should continue efforts to reduce malaria mortality and more efforts are also needed to improve newborn survival.
- Health and demographic surveillance system
- Millennium development goal
- Under-five mortality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases