Estimating adult mortality in Cameroon from census data on household deaths: 1976-1987

Martin Bangha, University of Pennsylvania

Many African countries lack conventional data sources for systematic assessment of adult mortality. Substitute techniques developed for this purpose have not been widely tested and so, are not as widely accepted as the birth histories approach used for childhood mortality. However, several African censuses have progressively collected requisite information for these techniques that have not been systematically analyzed. This paper uses data from the 1976 and 1987 censuses to assess adult mortality in Cameroon prior to the onset of HIV/AIDS. By applying the death distribution techniques to a setting where requisite data are believed to be essentially incomplete, this contributes towards the ongoing evaluation of these techniques (Hill and Thomas 2007). Results indicate that adult mortality in Cameroon was stably high over time, with slight improvement in adult female mortality as male mortality stagnated. In contrast to the recent DHS results for Cameroon, the census data suggest higher adult mortality.

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Presented in Session 22: Adult mortality in Africa