Mortality patterns in Kuwait: Inferences from death certificate data
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Two main features of the mortality pattern in Kuwait are very low crude death rates, not exceeding 2.3 per 1,000, and a high frequency of traffic accidents, ranking as the second leading cause of death. In quantitative terms, mortality statistics in Kuwait have reached their objectives in that coverage approaches 100%. However, quality of data still suffers from apparent shortcomings, as exemplified by senility (without mention of psychosis) as the sixth leading cause of death. Huge oscillations in the frequency of some conditions from one year to the next one are even more indicative of the dubious reliability of the information on the death certificate. These variations occur across the board and do not characterize only a pre-war/post-war comparison. Coding inconsistencies are not restricted to the same group of diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disorders) but appear to comprise shifts in coding between different groups of diseases (e.g., pneumonia and disorders related to short gestation). Socially undesirable causes of death are, in particular, an area where reliability of data may be easily challenged on logical grounds. If raw mortality data were taken for granted, they could be very misleading. Providing for a cautious interpretation, however, these data may still be fairly informative.
Key wordsDeath certification Kuwait Mortality
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