Premature adult mortality in urban Zambia: a repeated population-based cross-sectional study

BMJ Open. 2016 Mar 3;6(3):e010801. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010801.


Objectives: To measure the sex-specific and community-specific mortality rates for adults in Lusaka, Zambia, and to identify potential individual-level, household-level and community-level correlates of premature mortality. We conducted 12 survey rounds of a population-based cross-sectional study between 2004 and 2011, and collected data via a structured interview with a household head.

Setting: Households in Lusaka District, Zambia, 2004-2011.

Participants: 43,064 household heads (88% female) who enumerated 123,807 adult household members aged between 15 and 60 years.

Primary outcome: Premature adult mortality.

Results: The overall mortality rate was 16.2/1000 person-years for men and 12.3/1000 person-years for women. The conditional probability of dying between age 15 and 60 (45q15) was 0.626 for men and 0.537 for women. The top three causes of death for men and women were infectious in origin (ie, tuberculosis, HIV and malaria). We observed an over twofold variation of mortality rates between communities. The mortality rate was 1.98 times higher (95% CI 1.57 to 2.51) in households where a family member required nursing care, 1.44 times higher (95% CI 1.22 to 1.71) during the cool dry season, and 1.28 times higher (95% CI 1.06 to 1.54) in communities with low-cost housing.

Conclusions: To meet Zambia's development goals, further investigation is needed into the factors associated with adult mortality. Mortality can potentially be reduced through focus on high-need households and communities, and improved infectious disease prevention and treatment services.

Keywords: Zambia>epidemiology; adult; cause of death; cross-sectional studies; mortality>trends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality, Premature*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult
  • Zambia / epidemiology