The effect of some socio-economic factors on infant and child mortality in Tanzania: a case study of Tanga region

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study investigates the effect of some socio-economic factors on infant and child mortality in Tanzania. The findings are based on the data collected from a sample of 1678 households consisting of 7036 members residing in Tanga Region by means of a retrospective sample survey conducted between September and October 1996. This study was inspired by the fact that despite heavy investments in the health sector by the donors and the government, the rate of mortality decline remained below that needed to achieve the country's targets by the turn of the century. Infant and child mortality contributes a substantial proportion of the mortality in the country, a reduction of which will accelerate the overall decline. Since there is a limit to which the mortality decline will take place in the absence of socio-economic development, some factors were thus considered for analysis. The factors include: the education and occupation of the mother and the household head; household income, expenditure and assets; accessibility to health facilities and services; availability of water for domestic use and type of toilet used by the household. The main objective of the study was to establish the relationship between these factors and child mortality in the region. From the analysis, the factors that showed the strongest influence on child mortality were type of toilet, source of water, maternal education and annual household expenditure. The child mortality decreases with an increase in maternal education and annual expenditure which is also a close proxy of income. Households using flush toilets experienced the lowest child mortality followed by those using pit latrine and lastly by those with no toilet. Domestic water from wells was found to be associated with lower child mortality compared to those using water from taps and rivers. On the other hand, place of residence, maternal and head's occupation, and annual household income depicted some correlations with child mortality but not as strong as the previous factors. All the findings explained above were in line with the anticipated direction of influence. However, the education of head was surprisingly found to be positively correlated with child mortality. It seems that the highly educated heads are too busy to participate in child care.
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Infants, Children, Mortality, Tanzania
Makbel, A. M. (1997) The effect of some socio-economic factors on infant and child mortality in Tanzania: a case study of Tanga region, Masters’ dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (