JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Estimating child mortality due to diarrhoea in developing countries

Cynthia Boschi-Pinto, Lana Velebit, Kenji Shibuya
Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2008, 86 (9): 710-7
18797647

OBJECTIVE: The major objective of this study is to provide estimates of diarrhoea mortality at country, regional and global level by employing the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) standard.

METHODS: A systematic and comprehensive literature review was undertaken of all studies published since 1980 reporting under-5 diarrhoea mortality. Information was collected on characteristics of each study and its population. A regression model was used to relate these characteristics to proportional mortality from diarrhoea and to predict its distribution in national populations.

FINDINGS: Global deaths from diarrhoea of children aged less than 5 years were estimated at 1.87 million (95% confidence interval, CI: 1.56-2.19), approximately 19% of total child deaths. WHO African and South-East Asia Regions combined contain 78% (1.46 million) of all diarrhoea deaths occurring among children in the developing world; 73% of these deaths are concentrated in just 15 developing countries.

CONCLUSION: Planning and evaluation of interventions to control diarrhoea deaths and to reduce under-5 mortality is obstructed by the lack of a system that regularly generates cause-of-death information. The methods used here provide country-level estimates that constitute alternative information for planning in settings without adequate data.

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