Addressing causes of mortality in Zambia

ScienceDaily | 8/23/2019 | Staff
In 2018, the average life expectancy in Africa was 61 years for men and 64 years for women, while the average global life expectancy was 70 years for men and 74 years for women. Life expectancy is commonly used as an indicator of a population's general health and wellbeing, where populations with low life expectancies generally have problems maintaining health and longevity, while the opposite is true for populations with higher life expectancies. Improvements in terms of health and welfare are credited as one of the main reasons why life expectancy on the continent has been on the rise over the last two decades. Governments however need information on the most prominent causes of death in their countries for health policy formulation, planning, targeting, allocation of resources, monitoring, and the evaluation of existing population health programs and interventions. Unfortunately, in most African countries, this information is not readily available as death registration is incomplete due to inefficient and rudimentary civil registration systems and the fact that most deaths occur at home and are therefore seldom attended by medical professionals.

In their study published in the journal Tropical Medicine and International Health, researchers from IIASA, the University of the Witwatersrand, and the University of Zambia analyzed the World Health Organization's Zambia Sample Vital Registration with Verbal Autopsy (SAVVY) survey data to determine the main causes of death among adults in in the country. What sets this new study apart from previous work on the subject is that the researchers also endeavored to quantify the relative importance of causes of death in terms of the years of life expectancy gained if a specific cause of death were to be eliminated. The study further explored the data to determine whether there were any age-sex cause-specific mortality patterns for the five major causes of death...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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