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Efficacy of deep learning methods for predicting under-five mortality in 34 low-income and middle-income countries
Authors: Adeyinka Emmanuel Adegbosin, Bela Stantic, and Jing Sun
Source: BMJ Open, 10: e034524; DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-034524
Topic(s): Childhood mortality
Children under five
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: AUG 2020
Abstract: Objectives To explore the efficacy of machine learning (ML) techniques in predicting under-five mortality (U5M) in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) and to identify significant predictors of U5M. Design This is a cross-sectional, proof-of-concept study. Settings and participants We analysed data from the Demographic and Health Survey. The data were drawn from 34 LMICs, comprising a total of n=1?520?018 children drawn from 956?995 unique households. Primary and secondary outcome measures The primary outcome measure was U5M; secondary outcome was comparing the efficacy of deep learning algorithms: deep neural network (DNN); convolution neural network (CNN); hybrid CNN-DNN with logistic regression (LR) for the prediction of child’s survival. Results We found that duration of breast feeding, number of antenatal visits, household wealth index, postnatal care and the level of maternal education are some of the most important predictors of U5M. We found that deep learning techniques are superior to LR for the classification of child survival: LR sensitivity=0.47, specificity=0.53; DNN sensitivity=0.69, specificity=0.83; CNN sensitivity=0.68, specificity=0.83; CNN-DNN sensitivity=0.71, specificity=0.83. Conclusion Our findings provide an understanding of determinants of U5M in LMICs. It also demonstrates that deep learning models are more efficacious than traditional analytical approach.