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Keywords:

  • Bangladesh;
  • low-income settings;
  • non-communicable disease;
  • reproductive age;
  • South Asia;
  • verbal autopsy

Objective

To describe proportionate mortality and causes of death unrelated to pregnancy.

Design

Prospective cohort study.

Setting

Rural northwest Bangladesh.

Population

A cohort of 133 617 married women of reproductive age.

Methods

Verbal autopsies were conducted for women who died whilst under surveillance in the cohort trial. Physician-assigned causes of death based on verbal autopsies were used to categorise deaths.

Main outcome measures

The proportion of deaths due to non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases, injury or pregnancy.

Results

Of the 1107 deaths occurring among women between 2001 and 2007, 48% were attributed to non-communicable diseases, 22% to pregnancy, 17% to infections, 9% to injury and 4% to other causes.

Conclusions

Although focus on pregnancy-related mortality remains important, more attention is warranted on non-communicable diseases among women of reproductive age.