Understanding mortality patterns is an essential pre-requisite for guiding public health action and for supporting development of evidence-based policy. However, such information is not sufficiently available in Vietnam. Mortality statistics and causes of death are solely collected from health facilities while most deaths occur at home without the presence of health professionals. Facility-based data cannot represent what happened in the wider community. This thesis studies the patterns and burdens of mortality as well as their relationships with socio-economic status in rural Vietnam. The overall aim is to contribute to the improvement of the current system of mortality data collection in the country for the purposes of public health planning and priority setting.
The study was carried out within the framework of an ongoing Demographic Surveillance System (DSS) in Bavi district, Hatay province, northern rural Vietnam. This study used a verbal autopsy (VA) approach to identify cause of death in a cohort of approximately 250,000 person- years over a five-year period from 1999 to 2003.
During the five year study, a total of 1,240 deaths were recorded and VA was successfully completed for 1,220 cases. Results revealed that VA was an appropriate and useful method for ascertaining cause of death in this rural Vietnamese community where specific data were otherwise scarce. The mortality pattern reflected a transitional pattern of disease in which the leading cause of death was cardiovascular diseases (CVD), followed by neoplasms, infectious and parasitic diseases, and external causes, accounting for 28.9%, 14.5%, 11.2%, and 9.8%, respectively. In terms of premature mortality, there were 85 and 55 Years of Life Lost (YLL) per 1,000 population for males and females respectively. The largest contributions to YLL were CVDs, malignant neoplasms, unintentional injuries, and perinatal and neonatal causes. In general, men had higher mortality rates than women for all mortality categories. In adults of 20 years and above, mortality rates increased substantially with age, and showed similar age effects for all mortality categories with the strongest association for non-communicable diseases (NCD). Education was an important factor for survival in general, and high economic status seemed to benefit men more than women. Compared with cancer and other NCD causes, higher CVD rates were observed among males, the elderly, and those without formal education, using a Cox proportional hazards model.
This study is an initial effort to provide information on mortality patterns in a community using longitudinal follow-up of a dynamic cohort. Continuing the study using the VA approach as part of routine data collection in the setting will help to show trends in mortality patterns for the community over time, which may be useful for priority setting and health planning purposes, not only locally but also at the national level. Further analyses are needed to understand mortality inequality across all ages to have a comprehensive picture of mortality burdens in the setting. Validation studies and further standardization of VA methods should be carried out whenever possible to improve the performance and extension of the technique.
2006. , 67 p.