Time-series analysis of weather and mortality patterns in Nairobi's informal settlements

Glob Health Action. 2012 Nov 23;5:23-32. doi: 10.3402/gha.v5i0.19065.


Background: Many studies have established a link between weather (primarily temperature) and daily mortality in developed countries. However, little is known about this relationship in urban populations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to describe the relationship between daily weather and mortality in Nairobi, Kenya, and to evaluate this relationship with regard to cause of death, age, and sex.

Methods: We utilized mortality data from the Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System and applied time-series models to study the relationship between daily weather and mortality for a population of approximately 60,000 during the period 2003-2008. We used a distributed lag approach to model the delayed effect of weather on mortality, stratified by cause of death, age, and sex.

Results: Increasing temperatures (above 75th percentile) were significantly associated with mortality in children and non-communicable disease (NCD) deaths. We found all-cause mortality of shorter lag of same day and previous day to increase by 3.0% for a 1 degree decrease from the 25th percentile of 18°C (not statistically significant). Mortality among people aged 50+ and children aged below 5 years appeared most susceptible to cold compared to other age groups. Rainfall, in the lag period of 0-29 days, increased all-cause mortality in general, but was found strongest related to mortality among females. Low temperatures were associated with deaths due to acute infections, whereas rainfall was associated with all-cause pneumonia and NCD deaths.

Conclusions: Increases in mortality were associated with both hot and cold weather as well as rainfall in Nairobi, but the relationship differed with regard to age, sex, and cause of death. Our findings indicate that weather-related mortality is a public health concern for the population in the informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya, especially if current trends in climate change continue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cities / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Population Surveillance
  • Rain
  • Seasons
  • Sex Factors
  • Temperature
  • Weather*
  • Young Adult