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Short preceding birth intervals and child mortality in Mozambique
Authors: SD Gonçalves, and TA Moultrie
Source: African Journal of Reproductive Health, 16[4]: 29-42
Topic(s): Birth interval
Childhood mortality
Country: Africa
Published: SEP 2012
Abstract: This paper examines the risk of child mortality associated with short preceding birth intervals in Mozambique. We apply a piecewise log-rate model to a pooled dataset comprising 36,305 live births from the 1997 and 2003 Mozambique Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Our results show that the effects of short preceding intervals are strongest during the first month of life, particularly the first week, indicating prenatal maternal depletion as the dominant pathway. The rapid decline in mortality rates from intervals of less than six months to the category 30 to 35 months suggests an optimal waiting period of at least 30 months between one birth and the next pregnancy. 73 per cent of births had preceding intervals less than 30 months which, amidst low contraception use, indicates a potential for family planning programs to contribute to child survival and the attainment of Millennium Development Goal 4 in Mozambique.