Ibadan Journal of the Social Sciences
Volume 3, No. 2, 2005
Pages 29-41

DOI: 10.36108/ijss/5002.30.0230

Infant and Child Health: Evidence From Four Sub-Saharan African Countries

E.O. Tawiah

Regional Institute for Population Studies, University Of Ghana


This paper examines infant and child health inequalities in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania using data from three Demographic and health surveys (DHS) conducted in Ghana (1998), Nigeria (1999), and Kenya (1998), and the 1999 Tanzania Reproductive and Child Health Survey. Childhood vaccination coverage varies across countries. In Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania more than 60% of children aged between 12 and 23 months have been fully vaccinated. Immunization rates are particularly low in Nigeria (16.8% fully vaccinated). Girls are slightly less likely to be immunized than boys except in Nigeria. Breastfeeding is almost universal in the four countries. The median duration of any breastfeeding among children under three years varies from 18. 5 months in Nigeria to 21.5 months in Ghana. It is 20.9 months in Kenya and Tanzania. There is considerable chronic malnutrition among children in the four countries. The prevalence of acute respiratory infection was much higher in Kenya (20.1 %) than in Nigeria (13.1%), Ghana (13.8%), and Tanzania (13.9%). There is not much difference by sex. In Ghana and Tanzania, male children are more likely to be taken to a health facility or provider for treatment than female children, while in Nigeria and Kenya the boot is on the other foot. The percentage of children with fever is also highest in Kenya (42.3%), followed by Tanzania (35.1%), Nigeria (30.2), and Ghana (26.8%). Ghana has the highest prevalence rate of diarrhea (17.9%), while Tanzania has the lowest (12.4%). The corresponding percentages are 17.1 and 15.3 for Kenya and Nigeria, respectively. The predictors of receiving medical treatment jar diarrhea in Nigeria are region of residence and level of education. Region of residence emerges as the 1I10Stimportant predictor in both Ghana and Kenya, while it is birth order in Tanzania. Two policy implications have been highlighted.


Download PDF