Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Mortality in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1964–2004

Ardeshir Khosravi, Richard Taylor, Mohsen Naghavi, Alan D Lopez

Objective

Reliable information on the pattern, level and trend of mortality is essential for evidence-based policy to improve health. Various sources of mortality data in the Islamic Republic of Iran have not been critically assessed. This paper aims to document and evaluate the completeness of the different data sources on mortality and to estimate the level and trends of mortality over the past 40 years according to various mortality indices such as child mortality, adult mortality and life expectancy.

Methods

We undertook a systematic review of all available studies on infant mortality from 1964 to 2004 and estimated the most probable trend in child mortality. Death registration data from between 1992 and 2004 were assessed for completeness to estimate the level of adult mortality. Life tables for 2004 were constructed for the Islamic Republic of Iran based on these data, corrected for underregistration of death.

Findings

Infant mortality decreased from an estimated 154 deaths per 1000 live births in 1964 to 26 in 2004. The risk of adult mortality in 2004 was estimated to be 0.124 and 0.175 for females and males respectively. According to adjusted death registration data, life expectancy at birth in 2004 was 71.2 for females and 68.7 for males. The average completeness of death registration for ages 5 years and older across all systems was 76% for the period 2001–2004.

Conclusion

There has been a general decline in child mortality in the Islamic Republic of Iran over the past three decades. Adult mortality levels also have declined, but less substantially. Mortality information systems have improved, yet serious concerns remain regarding the completeness and quality of data.

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