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Original Research

Household resources as determinants of child mortality in Ghana

Submitted: 11 September 2016
Revised: 29 March 2017
Accepted: 7 April 2017
Published: 10 October 2017

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Author(s) : Nutor J, Bell JF, Slaughter-Acey JC, Joseph JG, Apesoa-Varano E, de Leon Siantz M.

Citation: Nutor J, Bell JF, Slaughter-Acey JC, Joseph JG, Apesoa-Varano E, de Leon Siantz M.  Household resources as determinants of child mortality in Ghana. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2017; 17: 4202. Available: (Accessed 24 October 2017)


Introduction:  Although the association between child mortality and socioeconomic status is well established, the role of household assets as predictors of child mortality, over and above other measures of socioeconomic status, is not well studied in developing nations. This study investigated the contribution of several household resources to child mortality, beyond the influence of maternal education as a measure of socioeconomic status.
Methods:  This secondary analysis used data from the 2007 Ghana Maternal Health Survey to explore the relationship of child mortality to household resources. The analysis of 7183 parous women aged 15–45 years examined household resources for their association with maternal reports of any child’s death for children aged less than 5 years using a survey-weighted logistic regression model while controlling for sociodemographic and health covariates.
Results:  The overall household resources index was significantly associated with the death of one or more child in the entire sample (adjusted odd ratios (OR)=0.95; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.92, 0.98]. In stratified analysis, this finding held for women living in rural but not in urban areas. Having a refrigerator at the time of interview was associated with lower odds of reporting child mortality (OR=0.63; 95%CI: 0.48, 0.83). Having a kerosene lantern (OR=1.40; 95%CI: 1.06, 1.85) or flush toilet (OR=1.84; 95%CI: 1.23, 2.75) was associated with higher odds of reporting child mortality. Adjusted regression models showed only possession of a refrigerator retained significance.
Conclusions:  Possession of a refrigerator may play a role in child mortality. This finding may reflect unmeasured socioeconomic status or the importance of access to refrigeration in preventing diarrheal disease or other proximal causes of child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: child mortality, social determinants, refrigerator, household resources, socioeconomic status, sub-Saharan Africa.

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