Stillbirths: How should its rate be reported, its disability-adjusted-life-years (DALY), and stillbirths adjusted life expectancy

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, Vol. 19 (2019), pp. 133-140

39 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2017 Last revised: 23 Jun 2021

See all articles by Chander Kant

Chander Kant

Seton Hall University - Economics; Kant Research

Date Written: March 26, 2019

Abstract

Background

A 2016 study standardized the definition of stillbirths. It estimated the rate as a proportion of total births. A 2015 paper addressed the problem of disability-adjusted life-years (DALY) for stillbirths. There has been no adjustment of life expectancy at birth to account for stillbirths.

Methods and Results

We follow mathematical and computational methods, use algebra to derive relationships, and large databases. We express the rate as a proportion of live births and use this rate to adjust life expectancy at birth for stillbirths. We then use the difference between the traditional life expectancy and stillbirths adjusted life expectancy (SALE) to obtain DALY for stillbirths for 194 countries, the Millennium Development Goal regions, and income groups.

We show defining stillbirths’ rate as a proportion of live births enhances stillbirths’ importance, especially in poorer countries; negates some of its under-statement vis-a-vis neonatal mortality rate, accentuates its decrease; and permits inference about relative magnitudes of stillbirths and neonatal mortality from the two rates. Using it, we derive stillbirths adjusted life expectancy, and suggest it reflects a more complete and accurate measure of comparative life expectancies of different countries. Its difference from the traditional life expectancy is used to measure DALY for stillbirths that totals 165.3 million years worldwide.

Conclusion

Stillbirths almost equals neonatal mortality yet have not received almost equal attention. We hope highlighting them and adjusting life expectancy for it will spur health interventions so that grand convergence of health outcomes in different countries can be more rapidly achieved. We also believe SALE is a more complete and accurate measure of comparative life expectancies.

Note: This draft paper is intended for review and comment only. It is not intended for citation, quotation, or other use in any form.

Keywords: Different measures of stillbirth rates; Years of life lost due to stillbirths; A more complete measure of life expectancy; Importance of stillbirths in poorer countries

Suggested Citation

Kant, Chander, Stillbirths: How should its rate be reported, its disability-adjusted-life-years (DALY), and stillbirths adjusted life expectancy (March 26, 2019). BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, Vol. 19 (2019), pp. 133-140, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2909344

Chander Kant (Contact Author)

Seton Hall University - Economics ( email )

United States

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