Continuous surveillance of death can measure health status of the population, reflect social development of a region, thus promote health service development in the region and improve the health level of local residents. Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture was a poverty-stricken region in Sichuan province, China. While at the end of 2020, as the announcement of its last seven former severely impoverished counties had shaken off poverty, Liangshan declared victory against poverty. Since it is well known that the mortality and cause of death structure will undergo some undesirable changes as the economy develops, this study aimed to reveal the distribution of deaths, as well as analyze the latest mortality and death causes distribution characteristics in Liangshan in 2020, so as to provide references for the decision-making on health policies and the distribution of health resources in global poverty-stricken areas.
Liangshan carried out the investigation on underreporting deaths among population in its 11 counties in 2018, and combined with the partially available data from underreporting deaths investigation data in 2020 and the field experience, we have estimated the underreporting rates of death in 2020 using capture-recapture (CRC) method. The crude mortality rate, age-standardized mortality rate, proportion and rank of the death causes, potential years of life lost (PYLL), average years of life lost (AYLL), potential years of life lost rate (PYLLR), standardized potential years of life lost (SPYLL), premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (premature NCD mortality), life expectancy and cause-eliminated life expectancy were estimated and corrected.
In 2020, Liangshan reported a total of 16,850 deaths, with a crude mortality rate of 608.75/100,000 and an age-standardized mortality rate of 633.50/100,000. Male mortality was higher than female mortality, while 0-year-old mortality of men was lower than women’s. The former severely impoverished counties’ age-standardized mortality and 0-year-old mortality were higher than those of the non-impoverished counties. The main cause of death spectrum was noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and the premature NCD mortality of four major NCDs were 14.26% for the overall population, 19.16% for men and 9.27% for women. In the overall population, the top five death causes were heart diseases (112.07/100,000), respiratory diseases (105.85/100,000), cerebrovascular diseases (87.03/100,000), malignant tumors (73.92/100,000) and injury (43.89/100,000). Injury (64,216.78 person years), malignant tumors (41,478.33 person years) and heart diseases (29,647.83 person years) had the greatest burden on residents in Liangshan, and at the same time, the burden of most death causes on men were greater than those on women. The life expectancy was 76.25 years for overall population, 72.92 years for men and 80.17 years for women, respectively, all higher than the global level (73.3, 70.8 and 75.9 years).
Taking Liangshan in China as an example, this study analyzed the latest death situation in poverty-stricken areas, and proposed suggestions on the formulation of health policies in other poverty-stricken areas both at home and abroad.