Background: In developing countries such as Nigeria, limited resources require that health priorities be selected wisely and death-related research is clearly warranted. The aim of this study is to provide a comprehensive report on the various causes of death in our center from 1978 to 2006.
Methods: This was a descriptive, retrospective study of all deaths recorded at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex (OAUTHC), Ile - Ife, Osun State in Southwest Nigeria from 1978 to 2006.
Result: A total number of 9,947 deaths were recorded during the study period and there were 6,277 male deaths (63.1%) and 3,670 female deaths (36.9%) with a female to male ratio of 1:1.5. The age ranged from birth to 100 years with a median of 25 years. Infection (2,594 patients; 26.1%) was the most common cause of death and this was followed closely by trauma death (2,028 patients; 20.4%) and neonatal death (1,074 patients; 10.8%). Death from infectious disease and trauma reduced from 1,048 and 1,441 in the first decade (1977 - 1986) to 478 and 133 in the last decade respectively. While death from neoplasia increased from 112 in the first decade to 354 in the last decade of the study period.
Conclusion: Our study shows that death from infectious disease in the present decade has reduced to almost half that was recorded in first decade. Similarly death from trauma has also reduced compared to the first decade of the study. Death from neoplasia is however higher in the last decade.
Keywords: Morbidity; Mortality; Nigeria; Pattern of death.