Maternal Age at First Birth and Childhood Mortality in Yoruba Society: The Case of Osun State, Nigeria

John Lekan Oyefara


This paper examines the nexus between maternal age at first birth and level of childhood mortality most especially within the socio-economic structure of Yoruba society in Nigeria. The understanding of this relationship is of direct relevance to governments and non-State actors working on child health with the aim to achieve the stated MDGs goal and its associated targets. To achieve the objective of the study, quantitative data were generated from 1,000 women in one of the six Yoruba speaking States in Nigeria: Osun State. A multi-stage random sampling technique was adopted to select the respondents, while percentages, means, standard deviation, Pearson chi square, t-test, analysis of variance and post hoc test of homogeneous were adopted to analyze generated data. Findings of the study show significant relationships between maternal age at first birth and childhood mortality level within the socio-demographic characteristics of women (such as place of residence, current age, occupational status, educational level, marital status, form of marriage and number of children ever born). Specifically, women who had their first birth below age 20 years exhibit significant higher number of childhood mortality in comparison with women who had their first birth by age 20 years and above at P<0.01 most especially when the later were at similar categories to the former. Thus, age at first birth is a strong determinant of relatively high childhood mortality level in the study area. Consequently, it is imperative for government and non-State actors working on child health in the region to develop appropriate policies and programmes that will address and inhibit early age at first birth in order to reduce significantly the level of childhood mortality in Yoruba society of Nigeria.

Key words: Childhood Mortality, Maternal Age at First Birth, Yoruba society, Osun State, Nigeria

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

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