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Causes of early childhood deaths in urban Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Abstract

Data on causes of early childhood death from low-income urban areas are limited. The nationally representative Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2007 estimates 65 children died per 1,000 live births. We investigated rates and causes of under-five deaths in an urban community near two large pediatric hospitals in Dhaka, Bangladesh and evaluated the impact of different recall periods. We conducted a survey in 2006 for 6971 households and a follow up survey in 2007 among eligible remaining households or replacement households. The initial survey collected information for all children under five years old who died in the previous year; the follow up survey on child deaths in the preceding five years. We compared mortality rates based on 1-year recall to the 4 years preceding the most recent 1 year. The initial survey identified 58 deaths among children <5 years in the preceding year. The follow up survey identified a mean 53 deaths per year in the preceding five years (SD+/-7.3). Under-five mortality rate was 34 and neonatal mortality was 15 per thousand live births during 2006-2007. The leading cause of under-five death was respiratory infections (22%). The mortality rates among children under 4 years old for the two time periods (most recent 1-year recall and the 4 years preceding the most recent 1 year) were similar (36 versus 32). The child mortality in urban Dhaka was substantially lower than the national rate. Mortality rates were not affected by recall periods between 1 and 5 years.

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