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Under-five mortality in The Gambia: Comparison of the results of the first demographic and health survey with those from existing inquiries
Authors: J. Rerimoi, Momodou Jasseh, Schadrac C. Agbla, Georges Reniers, Anna Roca, and Ian M. Timæus
Source: PLOS ONE , 14(7): e0219919; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219919
Topic(s): Childhood mortality
Children under five
Country: Africa
Published: JUL 2019
Abstract: Background In The Gambia, national estimates of under-five mortality (U5M) were from censuses and multiple indicator cluster surveys (MICS). The country’s first demographic and health survey (DHS) conducted in 2013 provided empirical disaggregated national estimates of neonatal, post-neonatal and child mortality trends. Objective To assess the consistency and accuracy of the estimates of U5M from the existing data sources and its age-specific components in rural Gambia and produce reliable up-to-date estimates. Methods Available national data on under-five mortality from 2000 onwards were extracted. Additionally, data from two DHS regions were compared to those from two health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSS) located within them. Indirect and direct estimates from the data were compared and flexible parametric survival methods used to predict mortality rates for all empirical data points up to 2015. Findings Internal consistency checks on data quality for indirect estimation of U5M suggest that the data were plausible at national level once information from women aged 15–19 years was excluded. The DHS and HDSS data used to make direct U5M estimates were plausible, however HDSS data were of better quality. For 2009–2013, the DHS estimates agreed well with the 2013 census and 2010 MICS reports of U5M but was less accurate about the early births of older women. The most recent estimates from the 2013 DHS, which refer to 2011–12, are an U5M rate of 54/1000 livebirths (95% CI: 43–64) and a neonatal mortality rate of 21/1000 livebirths (95% CI: 15–27), contributing almost 40% of U5M in The Gambia. The DHS showed that for the decade prior to the survey, child mortality dropped by 55% and neonatal mortality by 31%. This indicates the importance of neonatal mortality in The Gambia, and the need to focus on neonatal survival, while maintaining currently successful strategies to further reduce U5M.