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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1992 Mar-Apr;86(2):216-20.

Persistent and acute diarrhoea as the leading causes of child mortality in urban Guinea Bissau.

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Laboratory of Parasitology, Statens Seruminstitut, Copenhagen, Denmark.


An investigation of child mortality in a semi-urban community, Bandim II, in the capital of Guinea Bissau was carried out from April 1987 to March 1990. 153 deaths were recorded among 1426 live-born children who were followed for 2753 child-years. The under-five mortality risk was 215 per 1000 children (95% confidence interval [CI] 176-264), infant mortality 94 per 1000 (95% CI 73-115), and perinatal mortality 52 per 1000 (95% CI 41-63). By prospective registration of morbidity, post-mortem interviews, and examination of available hospital records, a presumptive cause of death was established in 86% of the deaths. Persistent and acute diarrhoea were the most frequent causes of death, accounting for 43 and 31 deaths per 1000 children, respectively. Fever deaths (possibly malaria), neonatal deaths, acute respiratory infections, and measles were other frequent causes. The access to health services was relatively easy: 75% of the children who died had attended for treatment at a hospital or a health centre. It is important to find ways of preventing and managing persistent diarrhoea, the major cause of death, and to improve the control of acute diarrhoea by a targeted approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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