Background: The vast majority of deaths in the health and Kombewa demographic surveillance system (HDSS) study area are not registered and reported through official systems of vital registration. As a result, few data are available regarding causes of death in this population.
Objectives: To describe causes of death among residents of all ages in the Kombewa HDSS, located in rural Western Kenya.
Methods: Verbal autopsy (VA) interviews at the site were conducted using the modified 2007 and later 2012 standardized WHO questionnaires. Assignment of causes of death was made using the InterVA-4 model version 4.02. Cox regression model, adjusted for sex, was built to evaluate the influence of age on mortality.
Results: There were a total of 5196 deaths recorded between 2011 and 2015 at the site. VA interviews were successfully completed for 3903 of these deaths (75.1%). Mortality rates were highest among neonates HR = 38.54 (<0.001) and among Infants HR = 2.07 (<0.006) in the Kombewa HDSS. Among those deaths in which VA was performed, the top causes of death were HIV/AIDS (12.6%), Malaria (10.3%), Pneumonia (10.1%), Acute abdomen (7.0%), Stroke (5.2%) and TB (4.9%) for the whole population in general. Stroke, acute abdomen heart diseases and Pneumonia were common causes of death (CODs) among the elderly over the age of 65.
Conclusions: The analysis established the main CODs among people of all ages within the area served by the Kombewa HDSS. We hope that information generated from this study will help better address preventable deaths in the surveyed community as well as help mitigate negative health impacts in other rural communities throughout the Western Kenya region.
Keywords: INDEPTH network; InterVA-4; Verbal autopsy; cause-specific mortality fraction; rural Kenya.