Open Access Research article

Why the increase in under five mortality in Uganda from 1995 to 2000? A retrospective analysis

Fred Nuwaha1*, Juliet Babirye1 and Natal Ayiga2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7072 Kampala Uganda

2 Institue of Statistics and Applied Economics, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7072 Kampala, Uganda

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:725  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-725

Published: 25 September 2011

Abstract

Background

From 1995-2000 the under five mortality rate in Uganda increased from 147.3 to 151.5 deaths per 1000 live births and reasons for the increase were not clear. This study was undertaken to understand factors influencing the increase in under five mortality rate during 1995-2000 in Uganda with a view of suggesting remedial actions.

Methods

We performed a comparative retrospective analysis of data derived from the 1995 and the 2000 Uganda demographic and health surveys. We correlated the change of under five mortality rate in Uganda desegregated by region (central, eastern, north and western) with change in major known determinants of under five mortality such social economic circumstances, maternal factors, access to health services, and level of nutrition.

Results

The increase in under five mortality rate only happened in western Uganda with the other 3 regions of Uganda (eastern, northern and central) showing a decrease. The changes in U5MR could not be explained by changes in poverty, maternal conditions, level of nutrition, or in access to health and other social services and in the prevalence of HIV among women attending for ante-natal care. All these factors did not reach statistical significance (P > 0.05) using Pearson's correlation coefficient.

Conclusion

In order to explain these findings, there is need to find something that happened in western Uganda (but not other parts of the country) during the period 1995-2000 and has the potential to change the under five mortality by a big margin. We hypothesize that the increase in under five mortality could be explained by the severe malaria epidemic that occurred in western Uganda (but not other regions) in 1997/98.