Estimating cause-specific mortality in Madagascar: an evaluation of death notification data from the capital city

Abstract : Background Trends in cause-specific mortality in most African countries are currently estimated from epidemiological models because the coverage of the civil registration system is low and national statistics on causes of death are unreliable at the national level. We aim to evaluate the performance of the death notification system in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar, to inform cause-of-death statistics. Methods Information on the sex of the deceased, dates of birth and death, and underlying cause of death were transcribed from death registers maintained in Antananarivo. Causes of death were coded in ICD-9 and mapped to cause categories from the Global Burden of Disease 2016 Study (GBD). The performance of the notification system was assessed based on the Vital Statistics Performance Index, including six dimensions: completeness of death registration, quality of cause of death reporting, quality of age and sex reporting, internal consistency, level of cause-specific detail, and data availability and timeliness. We redistributed garbage codes and compared cause-specific mortality fractions in death records and estimates from the GBD with concordance correlation coefficients. Results The death notification system in Antananarivo performed well on most dimensions, although 31% of all deaths registered over the period 1976–2015 were assigned to ICD codes considered as “major garbage codes” in the GBD 2016. The completeness of death notification, estimated with indirect demographic techniques, was higher than 90% in the period 1975–1993, and recent under-five mortality rates were consistent with estimates from Demographic and Health Surveys referring to the capital city. After redistributing garbage codes, cause-specific mortality fractions derived from death notification data were consistent with GBD 2016 for the whole country in the 1990s, with concordance correlation coefficients higher than 90%. There were larger deviations in recent years, with concordance correlation coefficients in 2015 at 0.74 (95% CI 0.66–0.81) for men and 0.81 (95% CI 0.74–0.86) for women. Conclusions Death notification in Antananarivo is a low-cost data source allowing real-time mortality monitoring, with a potential to improve disease burden estimates. Further efforts should be directed towards evaluating data quality in urban centers in Madagascar and other African countries to fill important data gaps on causes of death.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadatas

Cited literature [28 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Karin Sohler <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, August 7, 2019 - 1:54:54 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 1:24:41 AM


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License



Bruno Masquelier, Gilles Pison, Julio Rakotonirina, Anjarasoa Maharavo Rasoanomenjanahary. Estimating cause-specific mortality in Madagascar: an evaluation of death notification data from the capital city. Population Health Metrics, BioMed Central, 2019, 17 (8), pp.1-12. ⟨⟩. ⟨10.1186/s12963-019-0190-z⟩. ⟨hal-02264647⟩



Record views


Files downloads