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J Trop Pediatr. 1998 Dec;44(6):358-61.

Cause-specific mortality in under fives in the urban slums of Lucknow, north India.

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Department of Pediatrics, King George's Medical College, Lucknow, UP, India.


We recorded the causes of death in the preceding 3 years in a slum population of 24,196 children less than 5 years of age in Lucknow, North India. Of 1469 deaths recorded, 298 were stillbirths. For each death, a 'verbal autopsy' was conducted by interviewing the parents to ascertain the cause of death. 71.8 per cent of deaths were at home; 94.5 per cent of hospital deaths had no death certificate. Excluding stillbirths, 69.9 per cent of deaths were in the first year of life. Leading causes of death in the neonatal period were prematurity (38.5 per cent) and tetanus (36.4 per cent). Beyond the neonatal period, the leading causes of death were pneumonia (23.4 per cent), diarrhoeal disease (20.9 per cent), and malnutrition and/or anaemia (11.4 per cent). The existent mortality-recording system was under-reporting at least one third of the deaths. We conclude that stillbirths and neonatal mortality can be reduced by improved antenatal and natal care. In the postnatal period, since most of the mortality is due either to infective diseases or malnutrition, interventions to improve the nutritional status of preschool children can reduce this.

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