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Journal Article


Lehmann D. P. N. G. Med. J. 2002; 45(1-2): 51-62.


Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Perth, WA, Australia.


(Copyright © 2002, Medical Society of Papua New Guinea)






Monthly demographic surveillance by local reporters was continuous in the Tari Basin from 1971 until 1995 and cause of death was determined primarily by verbal autopsy. In 1982 the de jure population was 26,500, 15% aged less than 5 years. Crude birth rate was 34/1000/annum in 1980-1984; from 1977 to 1983 crude mortality rate was 15/1000/annum and life expectancy at birth 50 years. Infant mortality fell from 160 in the 1920s to 72/1000 livebirths in the 1970s, the greatest decline occurring between 1952 and 1971 when antibiotics became widely available. Respiratory disease (particularly chronic lung disease in adults) accounted for 39% of all deaths, and pneumonia for 50% and 33% of infant and toddler deaths respectively. Very few deaths from pigbel have occurred since the introduction of pigbel vaccine. Initially childhood mortality from diarrhoea declined following introduction of an oral rehydration program but subsequently rose when medical attention was no longer sought and children were inadequately treated at home. The higher mortality in the lower-lying Iumu area was attributed to malaria. Since the opening of the Highlands Highway in 1981, there has been a dramatic increase in short-term movement of both men and women in and out of Tari resulting in increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and viral infections such as measles. If restored, the Tari Research Unit could continue to play a key role in assisting the Department of Health in making decisions on appropriate interventions to improve the quality of life of Papua New Guineans.

Language: en


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