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What has faith got to do with it? Religion and child survival in Ghana
Authors: Stephen Obeng Gyimah
Source: Journal of Biosocial Science, 39(6):923-37; doi:10.1017/S0021932007001927
Topic(s): Childhood mortality
Country: Africa
Published: NOV 2007
Abstract: Using pooled children data from the 1998 and 2003 Ghana Demographic and Health Surveys, this study examines religious differences in child survival in Ghana. Guided by the particularized theology and selectivity theses, a piecewise constant hazard model with gamma-shared frailty is used to explore if there are denominational differences in child mortality, and whether these could be explained through other characteristics. At the bivariate level, children whose mothers identified as Muslim and Traditional were found to have a significantly higher risk of death compared with their counterparts whose mothers identified as Christians. In the multivariate models, however, the religious differences disappeared after the mediating and confounding influence of socioeconomic factors were controlled. The findings provide support for the selectivity hypothesis, which is based on the notion that religious variations mainly reflect differential access to social and human capital rather than religious theology per se.