A review of childhood mortality determinants in Zimbabwe during the economic crisis using data from the Zimbabwe demographic and health survey, 2010-2011.
Background: The economic crisis that intensified in Zimbabwe between 2004 and 2009 could have exposed children under the age of 5 at an elevated risk of dying. The study investigates the determinants of childhood mortality in the country 4 years preceding the Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey of 2010-2011. Aims and Objectives: To establish child mortality determinants in Zimbabwe for the period 2006-2010 during the economic crisis. Methods: The study was a descriptive cross-sectional study which used data from the ZDHS 2010-2011. Using logistic regression and survival analysis, the study estimates the odds of dying and the survivorship probabilities for the birth cohort of 2006-2010. Results: The results indicate that children born to mothers age 40-49 had 88% higher chances of dying compared to children born to mothers in the age group 15-19 in a model that controls for age of mother and gender of child. Female children had 23% lower chances of dying compared to male children in a model that controls for gender and age of mother and was statistically significant at p-value<.05. Children born to mothers with higher levels of education had 16% lower chances of dying compared to children born to mothers with lower levels of education in a model that controls for maternal education, age of mother and gender of child. Children residing in households with higher socio-economic status had 12% lower chances of dying than children residing in households with lower socio-economic status in a model that controls for household socio-economic status, maternal education, age of mother and child’s gender. Children residing in rural areas had 17% lower chances of dying than children residing in urban areas in a model that controls for area of residence, household socio-economic status, maternal education, age of mother and gender of child. Children residing in some of the country’s poorest provinces namely Matabeleland North and South had 72% and 70% lower chances of dying respectively and both were statistically significant at p-value<.05 in a model that controls for province of residence, area of residence whether rural or urban, age of mother, maternal education, gender of child and household socio-economic status. Conclusions: The study established some of the determinants of childhood mortality during the country’s economic crisis.
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