Trends in adult mortality in Kenya: 1979 – 2009

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This study sought to analyze trends in adult mortality between 1979 and 2009, both at national and regional level. The study utilized orphanhood data from the Kenya 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009 censuses to generate complete datasets of proportions of persons with parent alive by province, age and sex. Using proportions of persons with parent alive for two contiguous censuses, conditional survivorship probabilities for male adults and female adults were determined and converted into probabilities of dying between exact ages 15 and 60. Time locations of adult deaths were also determined. Overall, the study has established that there was an improvement in adult survivorship at national level between 1979 and 2009. However, there were differentials in adult mortality by sex and age as well at province level. More deaths occurred among male adults compared to their female counterparts. As regards age, younger adults (i.e. those aged 15-34 years) experienced higher mortality compared to their older counterparts. Nyanza province experienced the highest adult mortality during this period. Mortality levels were relatively lower in Central, Eastern and North Eastern provinces. The study provides evidence of a rise is adult mortality during the latter part of the 1999-2009 inter-censal period. The study calls for concerted efforts to reduce adult mortality in the country. The study recommends research be conducted to establish causes of the observed rise in adult mortality over the recent past and to generate county-level trends of adult mortality between 1979 and 2009.

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