Mortality in rural coastal Kenya measured using the Kilifi Health and Demographic Surveillance System: a 16-year descriptive analysis [version 2; peer review: 1 approved, 1 approved with reservations]

Otiende M, Bauni E, Nyaguara A, Amadi D, Nyundo C, Tsory E, Walumbe D, Kinuthia M, Kihuha N, Kahindi M, Nyutu G, Moisi J, Deribew A, Agweyu A, Marsh K, Tsofa B, Bejon P, Bottomley C, Williams TN, Scott JAG
Wellcome Open Research. 2023;6

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Background: The Kilifi Health and Demographic Surveillance System (KHDSS) was established in 2000 to define the incidence and prevalence of local diseases and evaluate the impact of community-based interventions. KHDSS morbidity data have been reported comprehensively but mortality has not been described. This analysis describes mortality in the KHDSS over 16 years.Methods: We calculated mortality rates from 2003–2018 in four intervals of equal duration and assessed differences in mortality across these intervals by age and sex. We calculated the period survival function and median survival using the Kaplan–Meier method and mean life expectancies using abridged life tables. We estimated trend and seasonality by decomposing a time series of monthly mortality rates. We used choropleth maps and random-effects Poisson regression to investigate geographical heterogeneity.Results: Mortality declined by 36% overall between 2003–2018 and by 59% in children aged <5 years. Most of the decline occurred between 2003 and 2006. Among adults, the greatest decline (49%) was observed in those aged 15–54 years. Life expectancy at birth increased by 12 years. Females outlived males by 6 years. Seasonality was only evident in the 1–4 year age group in the first four years. Geographical variation in mortality was ±10% of the median value and did not change over time.Conclusions: Between 2003 and 2018, mortality among children and young adults has improved substantially. The steep decline in 2003–2006 followed by a much slower reduction thereafter suggests improvements in health and wellbeing have plateaued in the last 12 years. However, there is substantial inequality in mortality experience by geographical location.