Outlook for survivors of childhood in sub-Saharan Africa: adult mortality in Tanzania. Adult Morbidity and Mortality Project

BMJ. 1996 Jan 27;312(7025):216-20. doi: 10.1136/bmj.312.7025.216.


Objective: To measure age and sex specific mortality in adults (15-59 years) in one urban and two rural areas of Tanzania.

Design: Reporting of all deaths occurring between 1 June 1992 and 31 May 1995.

Setting: Eight branches in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania's largest city), 59 villages in Morogoro rural district (a poor rural area), and 47 villages in Hai district (a more prosperous rural area).

Subjects: 40,304 adults in Dar es Salaam, 69,964 in Hai, 50,465 in Morogoro rural.

Main outcome measures: Mortality and probability of death between 15 and 59 years of age (45Q15).

Results: During the three year observation period a total of 4929 deaths were recorded in adults aged 15-59 years in all areas. Crude mortalities ranged from 6.1/1000/year for women in Hai to 15.9/1000/year for men in Morogoro rural. Age specific mortalities were up to 43 times higher than rates in England and Wales. Rates were higher in men at all ages in the two rural areas except in the age group 25 to 29 years in Hai and 20 to 34 years in Morogoro rural. In Dar es Salaam rates in men were higher only in the 40 to 59 year age group. The probability of death before age 60 of a 15 year old man (45Q15) was 47% in Dar es Salaam, 37% in Hai, and 58% in Morogoro; for women these figures were 45%, 26%, and 48%, respectively. (The average 45Q15s for men and women in established market economies are 15% and 7%, respectively.)

Conclusion: Survivors of childhood in Tanzania continue to show high rates of mortality throughout adult life. As the health of adults is essential for the wellbeing of young and old there is an urgent need to develop policies that deal with the causes of adult mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Rural Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Tanzania / epidemiology
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data*