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Geographic coverage of demographic surveillance systems for characterising the drivers of childhood mortality in sub-Saharan Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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  • C Edson Utazi
  • Sujit K Sahu
  • Peter M Atkinson
  • Natalia Tejedor-Garavito
  • Christopher T Lloyd
  • Andrew J Tatem
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>9/04/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>BMJ Global Health
Issue number2
Volume3
Number of pages8
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

A major focus of international health and development goals is the reduction of mortality rates in children under 5 years of age. Achieving this requires understanding the drivers of mortality and how they vary geographically to facilitate the targeting and prioritisation of appropriate interventions. Much of our knowledge on the causes of, and trends in, childhood mortality come from longitudinal demographic surveillance sites, with a renewed focus recently on the establishment and growth of networks of sites from which standardised outputs can facilitate broader understanding of processes. To ensure that the collective outputs from surveillance sites can be used to derive a comprehensive understanding and monitoring system for driving policy on tackling childhood mortality, confidence is needed that existing and planned networks of sites are providing a reliable and representative picture of the geographical variation in factors associated with mortality. Here, we assembled subnational data on childhood mortality as well as key factors known to be associated with it from household surveys in 27 sub-Saharan African countries. We then mapped the locations of existing longitudinal demographic surveillance sites to assess the extent of current coverage of the range of factors, identifying where gaps exist. The results highlight regions with unique combinations of factors associated with childhood mortality that are poorly represented by the current distribution of sites, such as southern Mali, central Nigeria and southern Zambia. Finally, we determined where the establishment of new surveillance systems could improve coverage.