• Article

Causes of death to women of reproductive age in two developing countries

Data on cause of death are deficient for most developing countries. Nevertheless, it is important for policy makers to have access to such information to plan the use of resources and to evaluate health programs. In this study, deaths among women of reproductive age (15 to 49) in two areas in developing countries were located, and family members were interviewed. Local physicians reviewed the completed interviews and determined the cause of death.

Complications of pregnancy and childbirth were the cause of 23% of the deaths in Menoufia, Egypt and Bali, Indonesia. In Egypt, the first cause of death was circulatory system disease (28%), followed by complications of pregnancy and childbirth (23%), and trauma (14%, primarily burns). In Indonesia, complications of pregnancy and childbirth was the first cause of death, followed by infectious disease (22%, primarily tuberculosis), and circulatory system disease (13%).

Although the method of data collection was unorthodox, findings for Menoufia are comparable to data from other sources for the country as a whole. There are few data with which to compare our findings for Bali, but their similarity to the data from the Egyptian study lends credence to their quality.


Fortney, JA., Gadalla, S., Saleh, S., Susanti, I., Potts, M., & Rogers, S. (1987). Causes of death to women of reproductive age in two developing countries. Population Research and Policy Review, 6(2), 137-148.