Trends in the leading causes of childhood mortality from 2004 to 2016 in Qatar
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Introduction: Childhood mortality is an important health indicator that reflects the overall health status of a population. Despite the decrease in global childhood mortality rates over the past decades, it still remains an important public health issue in Qatar.
Methods: The data from 2004-2016 were extracted from the Qatar Ministry of Public Health Birth and Death Database. International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) was used for coding the causes of death. The childhood mortality rate was defined as the probability of a child dying between the first and the fifth birthday, expressed as the number of deaths per 1,000 children surviving to 12 months of age. The sex ratio was calculated by dividing the mortality rate of males by that of females. Mann-Kendall trend test was performed to examine time trends. Relative risks were calculated to examine differences by nationality (Qatari and non-Qatari) and sex.
Results: A significant decrease in mortality rate of children aged one to five was observed from 1.76 to 1.05 per 1000 children between 2004 and 2016 (Kendall tau=-0.6, p=0.004). Three prominent causes of mortality were motor vehicle accidents, congenital malformations of the circulatory system, and accidental drowning/submersion. A statistically non-significant decrease in childhood mortality from motor vehicle accidents was oberved for all nationalities (total (Kendall tau=-0.03), Qatari (Kendall tau=-0.14), and non-Qatari (Kendall tau=-0.12)). A significant decrease was seen for total accidental drowning and submersion (Kendall tau=-0.54, p=0.012), while no statistically significant decrease was seen for total congenital malformations of the circulatory system (Kendall tau=-0.36, NS). The Qatari population did have a significant decrease in childhood mortality due to congenital malformations of the circulatory system (Kendall tau=-0.67, p=0.003) and accidental drowning and submersion (Kendall tau=-0.55, p=0.016).
Conclusion: The study is a first attempt to evaluate childhood mortality statistics from Qatar and could be useful in supporting Qatar’s ongoing national health strategy programs.
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