Efficacy of Mass Azithromycin Distribution for Reducing Childhood Mortality Across Geographic Regions

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Sep;103(3):1291-1294. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-1003.


Mass azithromycin distribution has been shown to reduce all-cause mortality in preschool children in sub-Saharan Africa. However, substantial heterogeneity in the apparent effect has been noted across geographic settings, suggesting a greater relative benefit in higher mortality settings. Here, we evaluated the relationship between the underlying mortality rate and the efficacy of azithromycin for the prevention of child mortality using data from multiple sites in Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, and Tanzania. Between regions, we find no strong evidence of effect modification of the efficacy of azithromycin distribution for the prevention of child mortality by the underlying mortality rate (P = 0.12), although a modest effect is consistent with our findings. Higher mortality settings could be prioritized, however, because of the larger number of deaths which could be averted with azithromycin distribution.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Azithromycin / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Child Mortality*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Malawi / epidemiology
  • Mass Drug Administration*
  • Niger / epidemiology
  • Tanzania / epidemiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Azithromycin