Inequality of Child Mortality among Ethnic Groups in Sub-Saharan Africa

By Brockerhoff, M.; Hewett, P. | Bulletin of the World Health Organization, January 2000 | Go to article overview

Inequality of Child Mortality among Ethnic Groups in Sub-Saharan Africa


Brockerhoff, M., Hewett, P., Bulletin of the World Health Organization


Voir page 38 le resume en francais. En la pagina 39 figura un resumen en espanol.

Introduction

Accounts by journalists of wars in several countries of sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s have raised concern that ethnic cleavages and overlapping religious and racial affiliations may widen the inequalities in health and survival among ethnic groups throughout the region, particularly among children (1, 2).(a) Paradoxically, there has been no systematic examination of child survival chances in relation to ethnic groups across countries in the region, including the majority of African countries that have experienced relative peace over the past decade or more. This shortcoming is conspicuous insofar as early cross-national analysis of ethnicity and mortality, using data from the 1960s and 1970s, concluded that "ethnicity ... exerts a strong influence on mortality in countries where ethnic groups appear to be sharply differentiated" (3). Neglect of mother's ethnicity, in particular, as an influence on child survival, is remarkable in the light of countess studies that have emphasized the central importance of maternal characteristics and behaviour for child health in Africa.

This paper uses survey data from 11 countries to examine whether ethnic differentials in child mortality have been pronounced in many sub-Saharan African countries since the 1980s.(b) While some African offspring are the result of interethnic marriages, the analysis focuses on the ethnic affiliation of the mother, given women's heavy responsibility for childrearing.(c) Of particular interest is whether one of two ethnic groups selected in each country experienced better child survival chances -- compared with the test of the population in their countries -- as a result of their geographical concentration in of close to the country's largest city, or in favourable ecological settings, or in critical centres of economic activity.

Conceptual issues

The few comparative studies of ethnic group mortality in Africa are mostly based on births and deaths in the 1960s and 1970s. These demographic studies generally reveal enormous differentials but provide scant interpretation of these discrepancies. Tabutin & Akoto (11), for instance, found that the probability of dying before 2 years of age was twice as high among the Luo as among the Kikuyu in Kenya, and 40% higher among the Hutu than among the Tutsi in Rwanda. In Cameroon, ethnic membership was the strongest predictor of child survival chances. While these findings went unexplained, the authors concluded that "the .ethnic variable should always be controlled in a study of mortality" (11, p. 54). A more intensive analysis of Cameroon data showed that Hauossa-Foulbe children had higher neonatal mortality than others -- presumably because of a high incidence of sexually transmitted disease among their parents -- but lower mortality thereafter, perhaps because of some combination of dietary factors and reduced exposure to acute diseases (12). Two separate studies showed that the Peul (or Fulani), one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel region, had an under-2-year-old mortality that was 10% higher than that of the majority Bambara in central Mali (13), but 30% lower mortality than the majority Wolof and Serer in the Sine-Saloum region of Senegal (14). Both studies proposed that group differences in child care, notably in nutritional practice, accounted for the variation in mortality. In the mid-1960s the Tonga of the Gwembe District in southern Zambia had 20% higher child mortality ([sub.5][q.sub.0]) than the country's population as a whole (234 compared to 190 deaths per 1000 live births), but experienced a one-third reduction by the early 1990s (down to 156/ 1000) while the national level remained stable (15). Differential mortality decline was attributed, in this case, to an exhaustive set of expanded preventive health care services in Gwembe.(d)

Such imprecise accounting for ethnic child mortality differences no doubt reflects the heterogeneity of sociocultural and ecological settings in Africa. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Inequality of Child Mortality among Ethnic Groups in Sub-Saharan Africa
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.