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Inequalities in Under-5 Mortality in Nigeria: Do Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Position Matter?
Authors: Diddy Antai
Source: Journal of Epidemiology, 21(1): 13-20; DOI: 10.2188/jea.JE20100049
Topic(s): Child health
Childhood mortality
Children under five
Health equity
Country: Africa
Published: SEP 2010
Abstract: Background: Each ethnic group has its own cultural values and practices that widen inequalities in child health and survival among ethnic groups. This study seeks to examine the mediatory effects of ethnicity and socioeconomic position on under-5 mortality in Nigeria. Methods: Using multilevel logistic regression analysis of a nationally representative sample drawn from 7620 females age 15 to 49 years in the 2003 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, the risk of death in children younger than 5 years (under-5 deaths) was estimated using odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals for 6029 children nested within 2735 mothers who were in turn nested within 365 communities. Results: The prevalence of under-5 death was highest among children of Hausa/Fulani/Kanuri mothers and lowest among children of Yoruba mothers. The risk of under-5 death was significantly lower among children of mothers from the Igbo and other ethnic groups, as compared with children of Hausa/Fulani/Kanuri mothers, after adjustment for individual- and community-level factors. Much of the disparity in under-5 mortality with respect to maternal ethnicity was explained by differences in physician-provided community prenatal care. Conclusions: Ethnic differences in the risk of under-5 death were attributed to differences among ethnic groups in socioeconomic characteristics (maternal education and to differences in the maternal childbearing age and short birth-spacing practices. These findings emphasize the need for community-based initiatives aimed at increasing maternal education and maternal health care services within communities.