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Under-five mortality rate variation between the Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) and Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) approaches
Authors: Amare Deribew, John Ojal, Boniface Karia, Evasius Bauni, and Mark Oteinde
Source: BMC Public Health, 16:1-7; DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3786-2
Topic(s): Child health
Childhood mortality
Children under five
Country: Africa
  South Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: OCT 2016
Abstract: Background: Several low and middle-income countries (LMIC) use Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and/or Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) to monitor the health of their population. The level and trends of under-five mortality rates could be different in the HDSS sites compared to the DHS reports. In this study, we investigated the change in under-five mortality rates overtime in the HDSS sites and the corresponding DHS reports in eight countries and 13 sites. Methods: Under-five mortality rates in the HDSS sites were determined using number of under-five deaths (numerator) and live births (denominator). The trends and annualized rate of change (ARC) of under-five mortality rates in the HDSS sites and the DHS reports were compared by fitting exponential function. Results: Under-five mortality rates declined substantially in most of the sites during the last 10-15 years. Ten out of 13 (77 %) HDSS sites have consistently lower under-five mortality rates than the DHS under-five mortality rates. In the Kilifi HDSS in Kenya, under-five mortality rate declined by 65.6 % between 2003 and 2014 with ARC of 12.2 % (95 % CI: 9.4- 15.0). In the same period, the DHS under-five mortality rate in the Coastal region of Kenya declined by 50.8 % with ARC of 6 % (95 % CI: 2.0-9.0). The under-five mortality rate reduction in the Mlomp (78.1 %) and Niakhar (80.8 %) HDSS sites in Senegal during 1993-2012 was significantly higher than the mortality decline observed in the DHS report during the same period. On the other hand, the Kisumu HDSS in Kenya had lower under-five mortality reduction (15.8 %) compared to the mortality reduction observed in the DHS report (27.7 %) during 2003-2008. Under-five mortality rate rose by 27 % in the Agincourt HDSS in South Africa between 1998 to 2003 that was contrary to the 18 % under-five mortality reduction in the DHS report during the same period. Conclusions: The inconsistency between HDSS and DHS approaches could have global implication on the estimation of child mortality and ethical issues on mortality inequalities. Further studies should be conducted to investigate the reasons of child mortality variation between the HDSS and the DHS approaches. Keywords: Health surveys, Exponential functions, Childbirth, Mortality -- Social aspects