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Research Urban and Regional Studies Institute PRC

Trends in Cause Specific Mortality in India

Principal researcher

Ganesh Sharnngadharan

Type of research

PhD research


Professor Frans Willekens, Dr Fanny Janssen

Summary of the project

Mortality has been on the decline in most parts of the world in the last two centuries. Along with this decline in overall mortality, the level of cause-specific mortality and their trends changed. Knowledge of the levels and trends in cause-specific mortality is essential for health planning. In India, studies on trends in cause-specific mortality are very limited. The existing studies on causes of death are mostly related to specific ages, i.e. child mortality and maternal mortality. The virtual absence of more general studies on trends in cause-specific mortality is mainly due to unavailability of good quality national data on cause-specific mortality. The vital registration system of the country, though active, does not provide reasonable information on all cause mortality, let alone cause-specific mortality. As an alternative, two sample registration systems were developed in the 1960s to provide adequate information on the causes of death; ‘Survey of cause of death (Rural)’ (SCD) and the ‘Medical Certification of Causes of Death Survey’ (MCCD.Unfortunately, these sample registration systems have limitations of their own. The coverage of both these surveys is limited, thus undermining the representativeness of the data. This present research is undertaken to reconstruct a national level cause of death database. The database is constructed using the available data on cause of death from both the SCD and MCCD.

This research makes use of the compositional model for the estimations which was effectively used for the construction of cause of death database in the Global Burden of Disease study. The Epidemiological Transition Theory is used as the theoretical framework for this research.

Last modified:15 July 2020 4.36 p.m.