Determinants of Infant Mortality in Kenya:A Household Level
Ngigi, Susan K
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The major objective of this study was to examine the determinants of infant mortality in Kenya. The trend for infant mortality in Kenya has been on the decline but the levels are still high as compared to the MDG’s target. Infant mortality rate is a good measure of economic development of a country as it indicates the quality of health services at a basic level and it is a sensitive indicator since infants depend on the socioeconomic conditions of their environment for survival. The study used household data from the 2008 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) to examine the primary predictors of a child dying before celebrating their first birthday. The study employed the Logit regression method. The results show that mother’s age, total number of children born by a mother, household wealth, infant’s birth size, mother’s education and mother’s religion are the major determinants of infant mortality. Mother’s health knowledge was also found to greatly reduce the probability of infant death. Based on the study findings, a number of policy options are recommended which can help efforts in the reduction of infant mortality. To begin with, the study recommends initiatives to discourage teenage pregnancies and also to have fewer children. The study also recommends encouraging women to acquire education beyond primary level as this enhances their health knowledge. It further recommends educating women on healthy lifestyle during pregnancy so as to ensure a good birth weight. Finally the study recommends that the government undertakes measures to help improve household’s wealth and living standards since this would help reduce infant mortality rates in Kenya.