Factors Associated with the Decline in Under Five Diarrhea Mortality in Tanzania from 1980-2015

Factors Associated with the Decline in Under Five Diarrhea Mortality in Tanzania from 1980-2015

By: Honorati Masanja, Pyande Mongi, Jitihada Baraka, Bianca Jackson, Yasinta Kisisiwe, Karim Manji, Nemes Iriya, Theopista John, Said Kimatta, Neff Walker, Robert E. Black
Publication: Journal of Global Health2019; 9 (2): 020806. DOI: 10.7189/jogh.09.020806.



Tanzania has made great progress in reducing diarrhea mortality in under-five children. We examined factors associated with the decline and projected the impact of scaling up interventions or reducing risk factors on diarrhea deaths.


We reviewed economic, health, and diarrhea-related policies, reports and programs implemented during 1980 to 2015. We used the Lives Saved Tool to determine the percentage reduction in diarrhea-specific mortality attributable to changes in coverage of the interventions and risk factors, including direct diarrhea-related interventions, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). We projected the number of diarrhea deaths that could be prevented in 2030, assuming near universal coverage of different intervention packages.


Diarrhea-specific mortality among under-five children in Tanzania declined by 89% from 35.3 deaths per 1000 live births in 1980 to 3.9 deaths per 1000 live births in 2015. Factors associated with diarrhea-specific under-five mortality reduction included oral rehydration solution (ORS) use, changes in stunting prevalence, vitamin A supplementation, rotavirus vaccine, change in wasting prevalence and change in age-appropriate breastfeeding practices. Universal coverage of direct diarrhea, nutrition and WASH interventions has the potential reduce the diarrhea-specific mortality rate by 90%.


Scaling up of a few key childhood interventions such as ORS and nutrition, and reducing the prevalence of stunting would address the remaining diarrhea-specific under-five mortality by 2030.