Excess mortality associated with the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020 and 2021 waves in Antananarivo, Madagascar

Joelinotahiana Hasina Rabarison, Jean Marius Rakotondramanga, Rila Ratovoson, Bruno Masquelier, Anjaraso Maharavo Rasoanomenjanahary, Anou Dreyfus, Andres Garchitorena, Fidisoa Rasambainarivo, Norosoa Harline Razanajatovo, Soa Fy Andriamandimby, C. Jessica Metcalf, Vincent Lacoste, Jean Michel Heraud, Philippe Dussart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction COVID-19-associated mortality remains difficult to estimate in sub-Saharan Africa because of the lack of comprehensive systems of death registration. Based on death registers referring to the capital city of Madagascar, we sought to estimate the excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic and calculate the loss of life expectancy. Methods Death records between 2016 and 2021 were used to estimate weekly excess mortality during the pandemic period. To infer its synchrony with circulation of SARS-CoV-2, a cross-wavelet analysis was performed. Life expectancy loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic was calculated by projecting mortality rates using the Lee and Carter model and extrapolating the prepandemic trends (1990-2019). Differences in life expectancy at birth were disaggregated by cause of death. Results Peaks of excess mortality in 2020-21 were associated with waves of COVID-19. Estimates of all-cause excess mortality were 38.5 and 64.9 per 100 000 inhabitants in 2020 and 2021, respectively, with excess mortality reaching ≥50% over 6 weeks. In 2021, we quantified a drop of 0.8 and 1.0 years in the life expectancy for men and women, respectively attributable to increased risks of death beyond the age of 60 years. Conclusion We observed high excess mortality during the pandemic period, in particular around the peaks of SARS-CoV-2 circulation in Antananarivo. Our study highlights the need to implement death registration systems in low-income countries to document true toll of a pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere011801
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 26 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy


  • COVID-19
  • epidemiology
  • public health
  • respiratory infections


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