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Use of contraceptives, high risk births and under-five mortality in Sub Saharan Africa: evidence from Kenyan (2014) and Zimbabwean (2011) demographic health surveys
Authors: Admire Chikandiwa, Emma Burgess, Kennedy Otwombe, and Lucy Chimoyi
Source: BMC Women's Health, 18:173; DOI: 10.1186/s12905-018-0666-1
Topic(s): Childhood mortality
Children under five
Maternal mortality
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: OCT 2018
Abstract: Background Increasing uptake of modern contraception is done to alleviate maternal and infant mortality in poor countries. We describe prevalence of contraceptive use, high risk births, under-five mortality and their risk factors in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Methods This was a cross-sectional analysis on DHS data from Kenya (2014) and Zimbabwe (2011) for women aged 15–49. Geospatial mapping was used to compare the proportions of the following outcomes: current use of contraceptives, high-risk births, and under-5 mortality at regional levels after applying sample weights to account for disproportionate sampling and non-responses. Multivariate risk factors for the outcomes were evaluated by multilevel logistic regression and reported as adjusted odds ratios (aOR). Results A total of 40,250 (31,079 Kenya vs. 9171 Zimbabwe) women were included in this analysis. Majority were aged 18–30 years (47%), married/cohabiting (61%) and unemployed (60%). Less than half were using contraceptives (36% Kenya vs. 41% Zimbabwe). Spatial maps, especially in the Kenyan North-eastern region, showed an inverse correlation in the current use of contraceptives with high risk births and under-5 mortality. At individual level, women that had experienced high risk births were likely to have attained secondary education in both Kenya (aOR?=?5.20, 95% CI: 3.86–7.01) and Zimbabwe (aOR?=?1.63, 95% CI: 1.08–2.25). In Kenya, high household wealth was associated with higher contraceptive use among both women who had high risk births (aOR: 1.72, 95% CI: 1.41–2.11) and under-5 mortality (aOR: 1.66, 95% CI: 1.27–2.16). Contraceptive use was protective against high risk births in Zimbabwe only (aOR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.68–0.92) and under-five mortality in both Kenya (aOR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.70–0.89) and Zimbabwe (aOR: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.61–0.83). Overall, community levels factors were not strong predictors of the three main outcomes. Conclusions There is a high unmet need of contraception services. Geospatial mapping might be useful to policy makers in identifying areas of greatest need. Increasing educational opportunities and economic empowerment for women could yield better health outcomes.