Levels, Trends and Differentials in Infant Mortality In Rural Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Emphasis is made on the rural part of the country in the belief that the knowledge of infant mortality differentials will contribute to the amelioration of the welfare of the largest proportion of the population of the country. Applying bivariate as well as multivariate methods of data analysis the study examines infant mortality among different socio-economic, demographic and environmental categories in the study population. The risk of infant death is shown to vary by ethnicity, religion, educational status , work status and marital status of mothers. Greater infant survival among Amhara ethnic group over that of Oromo and others , Christians over Muslims , currently married over other marriage categories and working over non-working mothers is observed. Father's education and occupation are among the most important determinants. Regional variation is observed and lowland areas show higher infant mortality risk than highland areas. Among environmental variables source of water is found to be the main factor. With regard to demographic factors , the study replicates findings documented else where except that higher order births (5 and above) did not emerge as having higher risk of dying than intermediate order births. Preceding birth interval is the most significant determinant followed by birth order and survival of preceding child. Short preceding birth interval (less than 2 years) is found to be harmful to the survival of infants. However, lower risk of death is observed when the preceding sibling is alive. The study also revealed that the effect of short birth interval persists whether preceding child is alive or dead. Results of the study reveal that amelioration of the overall socio-economic condition of the rural Ethiopia population is needed and particularly, improvement in the health services availability, introduction of health education for the youth (especially female). Introduction and/or strengthening of family planning programmes and services as well as improvement of the educational opportunity of the population and provision of safe water will go along way in reducing infant death in Ethiopia



Infant Mortality In Rural Ethiopia