Levels, Trends and Differentials in Infant Mortality in Kenya: Analysis of 1998, 2003 and 2008/09 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey Data

Omedi Gilbert


Reduction in the number of babies dying before their first birthday celebration is a global priority, the United Nations having targeted a two-third reduction in infant and child mortality between 1990 and 2015. As a nation, Kenya observed a normal curve in infant mortality rate in the period 1998 through 2008/09: 74 (1998), 77 (2003) and 52 (2008/09).  This study used three consecutive Kenya demographic and health survey datasets to examine the trends of infant mortality over time, their levels and differentials based on socioeconomic, geographic and demographic factors. Direct estimation technique was used to obtain levels and trends of infant mortality while crosstabulation analysis was used to compute infant mortality differentials based on the study covariates. It was observed that infant mortality was significantly high in Nyanza region where it was 2.6 times that of Eastern region. Except for Nyanza and Western regions, neonatal mortality rate constitute a greater proportion of infant deaths in all other regions. Births to older mothers and small-sized births had higher infant mortality rates than births to women aged less than 35 years and medium to large-sized births. Maternal illiteracy and currently working women accounted for higher infant mortality rates than mothers who had some literacy skills and who were not working. The significant associations of socioeconomic, geographic and demographic variables with neonatal, post-neonatal and infant mortality suggest the need for sector-specific policies and programmes to address the need for increased child survival.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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