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Distribution of food to mothers and children in Kabong
Courtesy World Bank Photo Library
In 1989 Uganda's estimated life expectancy, crude death
and infant mortality represented significant improvements
those of the 1960s, but local officials also believed the
estimates were optimistic, based on incomplete reports.
services and record keeping deteriorated during the 1970s
early 1980s, when many deaths resulted from government
violence, and civil war.
In 1989 officials estimated that measles, respiratory
infections, and gastroenteritis caused one-half of all
attributed to illness. Other fatal illnesses included
tetanus, and whooping cough, but some people also died of
malnutrition. An estimated 20 percent of all deaths were
by diseases that were not well known among international
officials. Ugandan health workers were especially
infant mortality, most often caused by low birth weight,
premature birth, or neonatal tetanus. Childhood diseases
measles, gastroenteritis, malaria, and respiratory tract
infections also claimed many lives. Malaria and
caused an increasing number of deaths among adults during
Certain forms of cancer were common in Uganda before
were first systematically studied in any country.
lymphoma, which caused a large number of cancer deaths in
children across Africa, was first described in Uganda in
This malignancy was thought to be related to the incidence
malaria and possibly to food storage practices that
growth of carcinogenic strains of bacteria or molds in
grain or peanuts. Other research, although inconclusive,
suggested that the spread of certain cancers might be
parasites or other insect-borne diseases.
Data as of December 1990