Comparative study of infant and child mortality: The case of Kenya and South Africa

Moses K Kibet


Comparisons of infant and child mortality between populations, both within and between countries, are important because they highlight causative factors of mortality, which can be addressed by health policies and programmes seeking to reduce high mortality at the young ages. Such information is useful for demographic assessment of the population and the evaluation of health policies and programmes. This study undertakes a comparative analysis of neonatal, post-neonatal and child mortality using the 1998 South African Demographic and Health Survey and the 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey. Two methods of analysis are used in this study. First variations in infant and child mortality levels by population groups are investigated through bivariate analysis which forms the basis for the logistic analysis. The results from the bivariate analysis show the existence of linkages between mother’s and partner’s levels of education, literacy, urban/rural place of residence, ethnicity, birth order, age of mother at the time of birth of child, age of mother at first marriage, mother’s occupation, water supply and health facilities and their children’s survival chances. Logistic analysis revealed that ethnicity, type of toilet facilities, literacy and birth order explain most of the variations in infant and child mortality in Kenya while mother’s educational attainment and type of toilet facilities were the main variables of importance for South Africa. These findings have important implications on efforts to reduce gaps in mortality differentials. For example the existing socio-economic and demographic differentials in infant and child mortality in the two countries can be reduced through provision of equitable high quality education, proper sanitation, discouragement of early marriage and early childbearing among others.

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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