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The socio-economic determinants of infant mortality in Nepal: analysis of Nepal Demographic Health Survey, 2011
Authors: Khim Bahadur Khadka, Leslie Sue Lieberman, Vincentas Giedraitis, Laxmi Bhatta, and Ganesh Pandey
Source: BMC Pediatrics, 15: 152; DOI: 10.1186/s12887-015-0468-7
Topic(s): Infant mortality
Country: Asia
Published: OCT 2015
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Infant mortality reflects not only the health of infants but societal well-being as a whole. This study explores distal socioeconomic and related proximate determinants of infant mortality and provides evidence for designing targeted interventions. METHODS: Survival information on 5391 live born infants (2006-2010) was examined from the nationally representative Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2011. Bivariate logistic regression and multivariate hierarchical logistic regression approaches were performed to analyze the distal-socioeconomic and related proximate determinants of infant mortality. RESULTS: Socio-economic distal determinants are important predictors for infant mortality. For example, in reference to infants of the richest class, the adjusted odds ratio of infant mortality was 1.66 (95% CI: 1.00-2.74) in middle class and 1.87 (95% CI: 1.14-3.08) in poorer class, respectively. Similarly, the populations of the Mountain ecological region had a higher odds ratio (aOR =1.39, 95% CI: 0.90-2.16) of experiencing infant mortality compared with the populations of the Terai plain region. Likewise, the population of Far-western development region had a higher adjusted odds ratio (aOR =1.62, 95% CI: 1.02-2.57) of experiencing infant mortality than the Western development region. Moreover, the association of proximate determinants with infant mortality was statistically significant. For example, in reference to size at birth, adjusted odds ratio of infant dying was higher for infants whose birth size, as reported by mothers, was very small (aOR?= 3.41, 95% CI: 2.16-5.38) than whose birth size was average. Similarly, fourth or higher birth rank infants with a short preceding birth interval (less than or equal to 2 years) were at greater risk of dying (aOR =1.74, 95% CI: 1.16-2.62) compared to the second or third rank infants with longer birth intervals. A short birth interval of the second or the third rank infants also increased the odds of infant death (aOR?= 2.03, 95% CI: 1.23-3.35). CONCLUSIONS: Socioeconomic distal and proximate determinants are associated with infant mortality in Nepal. Infant mortality was higher in the poor and middle classes than the wealthier classes. Population of Mountain ecological region and Far western development region had high risk of infant mortality. Similarly, infant dying was higher for infants whose birth size, as reported by mothers, was very small and who has higher birth rank and short preceding birth interval. This study uniquely addresses both broader socioeconomic distal and proximate determinants side by side at the individual, household and community levels. For this, both comprehensive, long-term, equity-based public health interventions and immediate infant care programs are recommended.