Burden of lower respiratory infections and associated risk factors across regions in Ethiopia

Published September 4, 2023, in BMJ Open (opens in a new window)



This analysis is to present the burden and trends of morbidity and mortality due to lower respiratory infections (LRIs), their contributing risk factors, and the disparity across administrative regions and cities from 1990 to 2019.


This analysis used Global Burden of Disease 2019 framework to estimate morbidity and mortality outcomes of LRI and its contributing risk factors. The Global Burden of Disease study uses all available data sources and Cause of Death Ensemble model to estimate deaths from LRI and a meta-regression disease modelling technique to estimate LRI non-fatal outcomes with 95% uncertainty intervals (UI).

Study setting 

The study includes nine region states and two chartered cities of Ethiopia.

Outcome measures 

We calculated incidence, death and years of life lost (YLLs) due to LRIs and contributing risk factors using all accessible data sources. We calculated 95% UIs for the point estimates.


In 2019, LRIs incidence, death and YLLs among all age groups were 8313.7 (95% UI 7757.6–8918), 59.4 (95% UI 49.8–71.4) and 2404.5 (95% UI 2059.4–2833.3) per 100 000 people, respectively. From 1990, the corresponding decline rates were 39%, 61% and 76%, respectively. Children under the age of 5 years account for 20% of episodes, 42% of mortalities and 70% of the YLL of the total burden of LRIs in 2019. The mortality rate was significantly higher in predominantly pastoralist regions—Benishangul-Gumuz 101.8 (95% UI 84.0–121.7) and Afar 103.7 (95% UI 86.6–122.6). The Somali region showed the least decline in mortality rates. More than three-fourths of under-5 child deaths due to LRIs were attributed to malnutrition. Household air pollution from solid fuel attributed to nearly half of the risk factors for all age mortalities due to LRIs in the country.


In Ethiopia, LRIs have reduced significantly across the regions over the years (except in elders), however, are still the third-leading cause of mortality, disproportionately affecting children younger than 5 years old and predominantly pastoralist regions. Interventions need to consider leading risk factors, targeted age groups and pastoralist and cross-border communities.

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Yigezu A, Misganaw A, Getnet F, et al. Burden of lower respiratory infections and associated risk factors across regions in Ethiopia: a subnational analysis of the Global Burden of Diseases 2019 study. BMJ Open. 4 September 2023. doi: 10.1136/


Scientific Publication

Global, regional, and national incidence and mortality burden of non-COVID lower respiratory infections and aetiologies, 1990-2021