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Association of maternal HIV infection with increase of infant mortality in Malawi
Authors: Rathavuth Hong
Source: Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 44 (2008) 291–296 doi:10.1111/j.1440-1754.2007.01238.x
Topic(s): Child health
Infant mortality
Maternal health
Country: Africa
Published: AUG 2007
Abstract: Aim: To determine the association between maternal HIV infection and infant mortality in Malawi. Methods: A synthetic cohort life table based on the birth history of 2618 childbirths during 1999 and 2004, from the subsample of 2020 mothers who completed interview and were tested for HIV virus in the 2004 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey was used. The survey collected socio-demographic and health data of a natural representative sample of women aged 15 to 49; and obtained voluntary counselling tests for HIV infection from one-third of the representatives of the sample. Associations of maternal HIV status and other factors with infant mortality were estimated using survival regression analysis and the results are presented as hazard ratios (HR) with level of statistical significance (P-value). Results: Children born to HIV-infected mothers were more than two times as likely to die during infancy as those born to uninfected mothers (HR = 2.21; P < 0.01). Controlling for other risk factors and confounding factors for infant mortality further sharpened this relationship (HR = 2.70; P < 0.01). Boys are more likely to die in infancy than girls. Young mothers and mothers not receiving prenatal care, and low-birthweight children and children living in rural areas, particular so in the northern region, were associated with a higher risk of infant mortality. Conclusion: Maternal HIV infection is strongly associated with infant mortality in Malawi independent of many other factors. Results from this study suggest that the HIV/AIDS epidemic has had an enormous impact on child well-being, child survival and infant mortality. The impact increases as the HIV/AIDS epidemic matures and infection in mothers and adults increases. Key words: child survival; infant mortality; Malawi; maternal HIV infection.