This paper examines mortality by cause of death in a rural area of Machakos district in Kenya. The cause-of-death data collected between 1975 and 1978 were likely to be of fairly good quality. The number of deaths was higher among infants and children. Infectious diseases and diseases of the respiratory system were the leading causes of death among children below 5 years of age. Next in prominence were the causes ascribed to congenital anomalies and perinatal conditions.
Among adolescents and young adults, injury and poisoning, together with tuberculosis and other infectious and parasitic diseases, were the leading causes of death. Degenerative diseases, especially diseases of the circulatory system and neoplasms and respiratory illness, were responsible for the majority of deaths among the older population.