Influence of Maternal Education on Child Health in Kenya

Benta A. Abuya, Pennsylvania State University
James Kimani, IMPAQ International, LLC
Elijah Onsomu, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

In 2003, the child mortality rate was 115/1000 children in Kenya compared to an average of 88/1000 for Sub-Saharan African countries. This study sought to determine the effect of maternal education on immunization (n=2,169) and nutritional status (n=5,949) of children. Cross-sectional data, the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS)-2003 were used for data analyses. 80% of children were stunted and 49% were immunized. After controlling for confounding variables, children born to mothers with primary education were 2.17 times more likely to be fully immunized compared to those whose mothers lacked any formal education. For nutrition, children born to mothers with primary education were at 94% lower odds of having stunted growth compared to mothers with no primary education, p<0.01. However maternal education was not a significant predictor of nutritional status once confounding factors were controlled. Policies for child health in Kenya should focus on increasing health knowledge among women for better child health outcomes.

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Presented in Session 86: Determinants of Child Survival in Africa