Causes of death in Vanuatu

Carter, Karen, Tovu, Viran, Langati, Jeffrey Tila, Buttsworth, Michael, Dingley, Lester, Calo, Andy, Harrison, Griffith, Rao, Chalapati, Lopez, Alan D. and Taylor, Richard (2016) Causes of death in Vanuatu. Population Health Metrics, 14 . doi:10.1186/s12963-016-0074-4

Author Carter, Karen
Tovu, Viran
Langati, Jeffrey Tila
Buttsworth, Michael
Dingley, Lester
Calo, Andy
Harrison, Griffith
Rao, Chalapati
Lopez, Alan D.
Taylor, Richard
Title Causes of death in Vanuatu
Journal name Population Health Metrics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1478-7954
Publication date 2016-03-15
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/s12963-016-0074-4
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 14
Total pages 9
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: The population of the Pacific Melanesian country of Vanuatu was 234,000 at the 2009 census. Apart from subsistence activities, economic activity includes tourism and agriculture. Current completeness of vital registration is considered too low to be usable for national statistics; mortality and life expectancy (LE) are derived from indirect demographic estimates from censuses/surveys. Some cause of death (CoD) data are available to provide information on major causes of premature death.

Methods: Deaths 2001-2007 were coded for cause (ICDv10) for ages 0-59 years from: hospital separations (HS) (n = 636), hospital medical certificates (MC) of death (n = 1,169), and monthly reports from community health facilities (CHF) (n = 1,212). Ill-defined causes were 3 % for hospital deaths and 20 % from CHF. Proportional mortality was calculated by cause (excluding ill-defined) and age group (0-4, 5-14 years), and also by sex for 15-59 years. From total deaths by broad age group and sex from 1999 and 2009 census analyses, community deaths were estimated by deduction of hospital deaths MC. National proportional mortality by cause was estimated by a weighted average of MC and CHF deaths.

Results: National estimates indicate main causes of deaths < 5 years were: perinatal disorders (45 %) and malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia (27 %). For 15-59 years, main causes of male deaths were: circulatory disease 27 %, neoplasms 13 %, injury 13 %, liver disease 10 %, infection 10 %, diabetes 7 %, and chronic respiratory disease 7 %; and for females: neoplasms 29 %, circulatory disease 15 %, diabetes 10 %, infection 9 %, and maternal deaths 8 %. Infection included tuberculosis, malaria, and viral hepatitis. Liver disease (including hepatitis and cancer) accounted for 18 % of deaths in adult males and 9 % in females. Non-communicable disease (NCD), including circulatory disease, diabetes, neoplasm, and chronic respiratory disease, accounted for 52 % of premature deaths in adult males and 60 % in females. Injuries accounted for 13 % in adult males and 6 % in females. Maternal deaths translate into an annual maternal mortality ratio of 130/100,000 for the period.

Conclusion: Vanuatu manifests a double burden of disease with significant proportional mortality from perinatal disorders and infection/pneumonia < 5 years and maternal mortality, coupled with significant proportional mortality in adults (15-59 years) from cardiovascular disease (CVD), neoplasms, and diabetes.
Keyword Vanuatu
Cause of death
Maternal mortality
Child deaths
Adult deaths
Non-communicable disease
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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