Determinants of the Recent Rise in Childhood Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Kenya Demographic and Health Surveys, 1990 – 2003

  • Collins O Opiyo United Nations Population Fund
  • Monika Sawhney Marshall University
Keywords: Kenya, Child mortality, determinants, Demographic Health Survey


Childhood mortality rates in Kenya increased in the 1990s and early 2000s. Evidence from Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) data shows increase in under-5 mortality rate by 26 percent from 91 in 1993 to 115 in 2003. This study examined factors associated with the rise in childhood mortality in Kenya. Micro-level data were obtained from KDHS. Macro-level data were gathered from government administrative records and comprised indicators of access and utilization of health services. Proportional hazards model was used to deconstruct factors associated with rise in childhood mortality. The results showed that that macro factors, particularly high HIV/AIDS prevalence and the general deterioration in the quality of childcare, were largely responsible for the rise in childhood mortality in the 1990s and early 2000s. Other factors believed to be also strongly associated with early childhood deaths during this period include malaria prevalence and subnational differences in culture and child care practices. 

Author Biographies

Collins O Opiyo, United Nations Population Fund
Technical Adviser
Monika Sawhney, Marshall University
Assistant Professor and Director Bachelors of Public Health