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Pattern of cause-specific childhood mortality in a malaria endemic area of Burkina Faso

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Abstract ral ss BioMed CentMalaria Journal Open AcceResearch Pattern of cause-specific childhood mortality in a malaria endemic area of Burkina Faso Gaël P Hammer*1,3, Florent Somé2, Olaf Müller1, Gisela Kynast-Wolf1, Bocar Kouyaté2 and Heiko Becher1 Address: 1Department of Epidemiology, Institute for Tropical Hygiene and Public Health, University of Heidelberg, Germany, 2Centre de Recherche en Santé de Nouna (CRSN), Nouna, Burkina Faso and 3Institute for Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, University of Mainz, Germany Email: Gaël P Hammer* - [email protected]; Florent Somé - [email protected]; Olaf Müller - [email protected]; Gisela Kynast-Wolf - [email protected]; Bocar Kouyaté - [email protected]; Heiko Becher - heiko.becher@urz.uni- * Corresponding author Abstract Background: Reliable mortality data are a prerequisite for planning health interventions, yet such data are often not available in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Demographic surveillance systems (DSS) implementing the verbal autopsy (VA) method are the only possibility to observe cause-specific mortality of a population on a longitudinal basis in many countries. Methods: This paper reports all-cause and cause-specific mortality rates in children under the age of five years from 1999 until 2003 in a malaria holoendemic area of north-western Burkina Faso. The DSS of the Nouna Health Research Centre, in which VA data were analysed, covers a rural population of about 30,000 (41 villages) and an urban population of about 25,000 (Nouna town). Results: A total of 1,544 deaths were analysed, 87 (6%), 225 (14%), 317 (21%) and 915 (59%) of which occurred in the periods < 1 month, 1–5 months, 6–11 months and 1–4 years respectively. All cause mortality rates of children under five years were higher in the rural than the urban area (34 vs 24 per 1,000 person-years) and in the rainy than the

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