General health characteristics


As has already been mentioned in the introduction to this section, it was neither the task nor the intention of the 2005 Population Census to provide detailed information on health issues. Nevertheless, with the aim of compiling demographic data, some indicators relevant to health issues have been collected. The following three maps illustrate the spatial patterns of the death rate of children and of mothers during pregnancy or at the time of delivery, as well as the average age of women at their first child delivery. As it was not possible to make detailed calculations of mortality rates at this level of resolution, the observed crude death rates were mapped in order to reveal the spatial patterns that should be the focus of attention.

Crude death rate of children under 1 (Map A)

The infant mortality rate is the number of deaths of children under 1 year old per 1,000 live births in the same period.  At a country level the results from the National Population and Housing Census of 2005 revealed the child mortality was 70 deaths per 1,000 live births meaning that for every 1,000 children born 70 never lived to see their first birthday. Map A depicts the crude reported death rates of children under 1 per 1000 live births per district in 6 frequency classes with shading from light to dark brown colours.  In general we observe a pattern of death rates that grows from the centre to the periphery. Particularly high rates can be found in the border areas of the south-east and the south of the country. In the north, districts with high crude death rates are more scattered. It is important that senior administrators study the factors involved and the causes of the high child mortality rates in order to determine strategies for their solution.

Maternal mortality (Map B)

The maternal mortality rate is the number of deaths of mothers per 100,000 live births in the same year. Maternal deaths occur during pregnancy, at the time of delivery or 42 days after giving birth, and are the result of problems and complications related to pregnancy but not because of accidents. At the national level the results from the National Population and Housing Census of 2005 revealed a maternal mortality rate of 405 mothers per 100,000 live births.  On Map B the observed death rates are depicted at district level in five frequency classes by varying shades of pink going from lighter shades (low mortality rates) to darker (high mortality rates). Maternal mortality rates are high in the south and the south-east of the country. In the centre of the north the maternal mortality rates are mostly high. Even though the general spatial pattern on this map follows the pattern of the preceding map some interesting differences can be found.

Age of women at first child delivery (Map C)

The age when women first give birth is an important population index. The younger a woman at first child delivery, the more likely she is to have many children. Furthermore, low age may also be one of the causes of high maternal mortality rates. At the national level the results from the National Population and Housing Census of 2005 showed that many women have their first child at twenty years of age and that the variation across the country is quite small. Map C presents five age classes indicated by different shades of green. A large majority of women who are above the national average age at first delivery can be found along the

Mekong River once more confirming the general trend that in urban central regions the age is higher than in rural border regions. Interesting exceptions to this pattern can be observed along the border to Thailand but also in the north of Phongsaly, at the intersection of Luangnamtha, Oudomxay and Bokeo provinces, as well as in the east of Xiengkhuang.  Relations to gender-specific migration patterns or ethnicity should further be explored (see Section C and F) on this issue.




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