Analysing public health data by person, place and time

The distribution of a disease can be described by recording which person was affected (who), the place where the case occurred (where) and the time when it occured (when). Information about the person affected should include their age, sex, ethnic group, religion, occupation and marital status (figure below).

Public health data about a population should record the age, sex, ethnic group, religion, occupation and marital status of each individual. (Photo: Basiro Davey)

Can you describe the distribution of malaria and pneumonia in the table below by the age of the patients (compare those aged five years old or younger, with those aged over five years), and the sex of the patients? Express your answer in words and construct a table showing the distribution of cases based on their age and sex.

Three out of the four malaria cases occurred in patients above the age of five years; all three pneumonia cases occured among children under five years. Three out of four cases of malaria occured in females, while two out of three cases of pneumonia occured in males. The table below shows this distribution.

Distribution of malaria and pneumonia cases at your health facility during three days, by the age and sex of the patients.

Age/sex of patientsMalaria cases (4)Pneumonia cases (3)
Age
< = 5 years 1 3
> 5 years 3 0
Sex
male 1 2
female 3 1
The symbol < = means 'less than or equal to'. The symbol > means 'greater than'