2021 Volume 64 Issue 3 Pages 292-302
Background Drought has been a considerable problem for many years in northern Bangladesh. However, the health impacts of drought in this region are not well understood.
Methods This study analyzed the impact of drought duration and severity on select causes of mortality in northern Bangladesh. Rainfall data from three meteorological stations (Rangpur, Dinajpur and Nilphamari) in northern Bangladesh were used to assess drought and non-drought periods, and the Standardized Precipitation Index was used to categorize mild, moderate, severe, and extreme drought. Mortality data from 2007 to 2017 for the three areas were collected from the Sample Vital Registration System, which is a survey of 1 million people. The generalized linear model with Poisson regression link was used to identify associations between mortality and the drought severity and 1-month preceding SPI.
Results Only severe and extreme drought in the short-term drought periods affected mortality. Long-term drought was not associated with natural cause mortality in Rangpur and Nilphamari. In Dinajpur, mild and moderate drought was associated with circulatory- and respiratory-related mortality.
Conclusion The impact of drought on mortality varied by region. This study improves our understanding of how droughts affect specific causes of mortality and will help policy makers to take appropriate measures against drought impacts on selected cause of mortality. Future research will be critical to reduce drought-related risks of health.