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Cultural Background and Infant Survival in Ghana
Authors: Stephen Obeng Gyimah
Source: Ethnicity and Health, 11(2): 101-120; DOI: 10.1080/13557850500460314
Topic(s): Childhood mortality
Infant mortality
Race and ethnicity
Country: Africa
Published: JAN 2007
Abstract: This study is premised on the hypothesis that ethnic specific socio-cultural practices such as dietary taboos and food avoidances on mothers and infants, as well as perceptions of disease aetiology and treatment patterns may be salient to understanding infant mortality differentials in Ghana. To inform policy, the paper explores if there are significant ethnic differences in infant survival, and whether such differences reflect socio-economic disparities or intrinsic factors. Using data from the 1998 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, there was evidence of significant ethnic differences in infant survival at the bivariate level. Using Asante mothers as reference, the risk of death was significantly higher among children whose mothers were Mole-Dagbani, Grussi, Gruma, Dagarti, Fanti and Other Akan. In the multivariate models, however, the higher mortality risks associated with these children significantly attenuated after controlling for the socio-economic and bio-demographic factors except for the Fanti. The findings are discussed with reference to the characteristics and cultural theoretical paradigms. Keywords • Ethnicity, • Culture, • Infant/Child Mortality, • Ghana, • Sub-Saharan Africa