Identifying indicators of child mortality using factor analysis method: a case study in Abudwak district in central Somalia.
Omolo, Alfonce O
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Child mortality is becoming a great problem in most parts of Somalia with the Abudwak district in central Somalia being worst hit due to population influx from the capital city Mogadishu. This follows the political instability in the country, the clan-clan fight and rampant terrorism by the anti-government terrorist groups leading to socio-economic breakdown. The major cause of concern is that most households (85%) are left with mothers (females) as the household heads with children to fend for in very hard economic situations while husbands are always absent due to either having succumbed to injuries in the fight or are out fighting in the civil wars. Children, therefore, become the cheap recipients to the harsh situations particularly in low or no income families which are the majority (90%). This study sought to establish the current trend of child mortality in Abudwak district and to analyze the strategies used to address the problem. It specifically examines the effect of household's environmental, socio-economic and biodemographic characteristics on child mortality in central Somalia region. The study variables analyzed included households' wealth status, types of foodstuff consumed in the household, school attendance by children, mothers' age, source of drinking water, type of toilet facility, children ever born, current marital status of the mother, age of child and sex of the child among others. The general objective of this study was to look into factors leading to malnutrition and eventual infant and child deaths. The study used data drawn from the Somali 2006 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). The district survey was designed to provide estimates on a large number of indicators on the situation of the infant and young children in the entire district. The analysis of structured items was mainly done using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Descriptive statistics, Factor analysis and Multinomial logistic regression analysis were the main methods of analysis used in this study. Multinomial logistic regression results revealed that a household's socio-economic and environmental characteristics variables have significant impact on child mortality in central Somalia. The study makes a number of recommendations on improvement of socio-economic and environmental status such as embarking on cash relief initiatives to bolster household income and purchasing powers of the most vulnerable as well as blanket food distribution be conducted for all livelihood groups in Abudwak districts and the surrounding villages to fight malnutrition. In addition, efforts to strengthen national reconciliation and comprehensive sustainable peace should be prioritized.
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