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Determinants of mortality among children in the urban slums of Dhaka city, Bangladesh

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The growing slum population in the developing world is an increasing challenge for local health authorities. Little is known of the patterns of disease occurrence including treatment types offered in this population. The paper describes reported child mortality and its determinants, including the main diseases affecting children and treatments, in the slum population of Dhaka city, Bangladesh. 1500 households in three slum communities were included in a cross-sectional survey. Reported death rates in the households per 1000 children (0–107 months) within the last year from the interview were 20.5 for boys and 27.0 for girls. More girls than boys died in infancy (age < 12 months). The most frequent reported causes of deaths were tetanus in infancy and diarrhoea among children aged ≤ 12 months. Vaccination coverage (DPT, polio, measles and BCG) was 73% for children < 3 years of age. The results showed that gender difference in mortality may have been influenced by the patterns of treatment received during sickness and the choice of treatment was determined by the financial ability of the households. Household income, children's vaccinations, TT immunization of mothers and personal cleanliness appeared to be significantly associated with child mortality. Despite the relatively high vaccination coverage for this population, child mortality remained alarmingly high, indicating that socioeconomic and environmental conditions must be improved to substantially reduce morbidity and mortality in this population.
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Keywords: Bangladesh; child mortality; hygiene; slums; vaccination

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Epidemiology, National Hospital, University of Oslo, Norway 2: Institute of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh 3: Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Norway

Publication date: November 1, 1999

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