Exploring poverty health linkages: a case of child mortality in Kenya
It is argued that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. However, most of the SubSaharan African (SSA) countries experience adverse health outcomes coupled with relatively high levels of poverty. The causality between poverty and health has been found to run both ways. Various studies show that poverty is linked to health status and vice versa. Studies investigating the linkage between poverty and ill-health are however few in Kenya with mixed findings. This study investigates the linkage between poverty and ill-health in Kenya using child mortality as a proxy indicator of health and household wealth index as a proxy for poverty. We use data from KDHS 2008-09 and two-stage least squares instrumental variable methods in estimating the link between poverty and health (child mortality). The results show that poverty (wealth index), residence type, mothers education, access to water, access to sanitation and source of cooking fuel and gender of household head have significant effect on child mortality rates in Kenya. This study recommends policies and programs such as economic empowerment and maternal education aimed at reducing poverty and child mortality rates especially in rural areas to be designed and implemented. In addition, the government should promote public awareness on the importance of sanitation and intensify promotion of basic health education in learning institutions. Most importantly, the government and other development agencies should ensure that there is an increased supply of clean water and promote the use low polluting fuels in rural areas.