The seasonality of deaths in Kenya
Seasonal variations of vital events are largely symptoms of environmental, socio-economic and sociocultural factors. This study was initiated to determine the seasonality of deaths and its relationship to agriculture and climatic conditions in Kenya. The degree of completeness of death registration was also established. The study used secondary data obtained from the department of Registrar-General, Department of Metrology, Nairobi and the Ministry of Agriculture department of Extension work, Nairobi, Kenya. Brass growth Balance technique was used to estimate the degree of completeness of death registration. Time series analysis was used to determine the nature and persistence of the death series. The findings of the study show that periods of high death rates coincide with the rainy periods and that of lean agricultural period when the food in stores diminish yet more labour is demanded for next agricultural season. Less deaths are recorded in the drier months of the year and immediately after the harvest when there is plenty of food and rest as the next season is yet to come. Time series analysis showed persistence in the data suggesting that the seasona..lity shown is not by chance but is caused by some definite factors. The study therefore concluded that the seasonal patterns of death are influenced by rainfall patterns, and agricultural activities like cultivation, weeding and harvest. These are precipitated by the emergence of water borne diseases during the cold seasons, the occurrence of respiratory and other diseases associated with the cold and dry seasons as well as nutritional related Idiseases. Socio-cultural practices such as funeral ceremonies were also found to .influence regional mortality patterns to some extent.