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Childhood mortality in Swaziland: Levels, trends, and determinants

Gule, Gugulethu Zamakhosi. University of Pennsylvania. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1990. 9101164.

Abstract (summary)

Swaziland's vital registration system is incomplete and unreliable. Consequently, infant and childhood mortality estimates are computed by using indirect techniques, which involve selecting a model life table that best represents the age pattern of mortality in childhood. Surprisingly, the East model life table of the Coale and Demeny compilation, which is characterized by high infant relative to childhood mortality, was found to be the most appropriate for Swaziland. In most studies conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, the North model life table is selected. An examination of trends shows that mortality in Swaziland has declined at a fast pace. Infant mortality fell from 155 per thousand live births in 1960 to 84 in 1988, while childhood mortality declined from 214 to 120 during the same period.

No systematic study of the determinants of childhood mortality exists in Swaziland. In this research determinants of mortality variation at the areal and individual levels were investigated by utilizing multivariate analysis. The approach used in the study of areal mortality variation is the most interesting and innovative of this research. Small areas were used as units of analysis instead of large geographic regions. An important finding emanating from comparing results from both types of analyses is that using areal data provides an alternative to using individual-level data; areal data are often easier and less expensive to analyze.

Though several determinants were identified, mother's education and access to major roads were the most important. Both had a highly significant independent effect on mortality at both the areal and individual levels. The effect of building a road was found to be similar to the effect of increasing the number of women with secondary education by 43 percent. Both lead to a 18 per thousand reduction in childhood mortality.

Also noteworthy is the finding that the advantages of using tap or tank water are limited if women are uneducated. This suggests that educated women make better use of existing water facilities.

Indexing (details)

African history;
Social research;
Public health
0938: Demographics
0331: African history
0344: Social research
0573: Public health
Identifier / keyword
Health and environmental sciences; Social sciences; mortality
Childhood mortality in Swaziland: Levels, trends, and determinants
Gule, Gugulethu Zamakhosi
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 51/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Walle, Etienne van de
University of Pennsylvania
University location
United States -- Pennsylvania
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL