Composition Paper on Infant and Child mortality
Infant mortality refers to the death of less than one year of age of an infant that had been born alive while child mortality refers to the death of a child under the age of five that had been born alive. Usually, mortality rates are expressed as deaths per 1000 children surviving (UNICEF 1). These rates are considered as indicators for measuring the health and wellbeing of a nation. Mortality rates of infants and children have continued to be considered as just estimates with no actual methods of getting the accurate rates. From the national data, the estimates of child mortality are found from varied sources such as civil registration, and sample surveys.
Despite considerable measures taken worldwide to reduce the occurrence of infant and child mortality, trends in estimates of infant mortality have continued to reflect a recent increase in infant mortality. This is raising an alarm to the quick reaction and the need for a better method of calculating child and infant mortality with high advanced intervention measures than those already pursued in the recent past. According to Guillot, Gerland, Pelletier, & Saabneh (2), over 23,000 infants died in the United States in 2014 with the top leading causes of infant mortality accounting for over half of all infant deaths in the United States. These causes included birth defects, preterm births, and maternal complications of pregnancy, sudden infant death syndrome, and injuries due to for instance suffocation. Conducting a survey and estimation of the infant and child mortality rate in my resident town would be imperative to bring to knowledge the status and wellbeing of my town and relate it to the existing data in the national civil registration. This would give the current stand of the mortality rate, unlike the estimates that are always not current but previously conducted a few years ago. The study seeks to find out effective approaches to reducing infant and child mortality. The study argues that improvement of women’s lives will minimize the high rates of infant and child mortality.
Research conducted in 2002 at the Uzbekistan health examination survey by use of reproductive questionnaire revealed that many other factors also influence infant mortality rates and these factors vary from one nation to the other. A strong relationship existed between fertility patterns and children’s risk of dying in Uzbekistan Risks of mortality was greater for children born to mothers too young( below 18 years ) or too old( over 34 years) and also born after a short birth interval or with a high birth order. Women’s status and position in the house also had an impact on child mortality. As the main caregiver to children, women greatly influence and improve the wellbeing and continued existence of the infant. A woman enjoying high status by having a say in the household decision-making had a high chance of preventing infant mortality especially in the aspects of sexual relations to the male partner.
Socio-economic differentials affected child mortality because infant mortality was significantly high in the rural areas (75 per 1000) of Uzbekistan compared to its urban areas (43 per 1000). Mortality rates for neonatal, post-neonatal and child segments of childhood mortality were all higher in the rural than in the urban areas. Mothers level of education also influenced mortality whereby the mortality differed by a factor of three between least educated women (95 per 1000) and most educated women. Ethnicity also influenced mortality of children with Uzbek ethnicity being at greater risk of dying at all ages than children born to women of other ethnicities. (Sullivan & Tureeva, 79).
According to a report by Guillot, Gerland, Pelletier, & Saabneh (2), an occurrence of an alarming death of infants had been attributed to the complications before and during birth. Since the outcomes of pregnancy are influenced by the women’s health, then early intervention by the women could wholly reduce the infant mortality. These interventions include focusing on preconception health whereby a woman takes action before and between pregnancies to increase the chances of survival of the unborn and knowing how to address any health issues or complications that may arise by any chance.
Report by UNICEF reveals that infectious diseases often considered the diseases of the poor have remained highly prevalent especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia despite strong advances in fighting the childhood diseases. Pneumonia and malaria remain to be the leading causes of death among children under age five with approximately killing two million in 2013 and thus accounting for a third of global fewer than five deaths. Improvements have partly been attributed to affordable evidence-based interventions against leading infectious diseases, for instance, immunization, insecticide treated nets, rehydration treatment for diarrhea, nutritional supplements, and therapeutic food. Conflicts and political fragility have also contributed to higher below five mortality rates with almost a fifth of all under the age five deaths in the year 2013 occurring in countries currently classified as fragile and conflict-affected.
There has been a limitation on the availability of high-quality data on child mortality in many countries leading to a lack of accurate estimates of child mortality. This has been so because many countries lack viable or fully functioning vital registration systems and rely on UNICEF household surveys that form basis of questions that women are asked on the survival of their children. These are eventually used as the basis for child mortality estimates for most developing countries. Moreover, data collected by countries lack inconsistence across sources and thus should be analyzed, reconciled, and evaluated simultaneously.
Research Plan: The study will use qualitative analysis to collect information, categorize, and analyze the findings.
Procedures: 50 women would be picked randomly from the town. They will be required to consent first to answering the interview questions before proceeding. Every participant is expected to fill in a consent fill detailing the willingness to participate voluntarily. They will be assured of the confidentiality of details given, through the consent form. Mortality rates of infant and children would be conducted by using interviews method. Formed questionnaire with sections including a pregnancy history that has specific questions, which are asked about each pregnancy a woman has had. Each live birth reported in pregnancy history will be followed by questions on month and the year of birth, sex of a child, current age for the surviving children, and age of death of the deceased children. Information on the women’s age, the ethnicity, education level would also be recorded. The survey would be conducted for a whole year with interval span of twice a month to give out detailed information. In total, approximately 1,200 women shall have participated in the study. Data will be related to the statistics collected in the health facilities within the town with the reproductive section.
Summary of participants: All participants shall be women of childbearing age. This implies that only women between 15- 60 years shall participate in the study. There is no defined ethnic group and educational level for the participants.
Materials: The study is to utilize formed questionnaire with sections including a pregnancy history that has specific questions. Every participant must fill in their age, ethnic background, known health challenges before, and during and after giving birth. The contributors will not include their names for confidentiality. Each live birth reported in pregnancy history will be followed by questions on month and the year of birth, sex of a child, current age for the surviving children, and age of death of the deceased children. Information on the women’s age, the ethnicity, education level would also be recorded.
Timetable: The interviews will take place twice every month for one year. Thereafter, the researchers will combine all the data and relate it with the previous findings.
Problems Encountered and Solutions: This method would be challenging because there may be occurrences of under-reporting by the people conducting the interviews. This is because, not every woman in the street may have given birth. Non-sampling errors may also arise leading to inaccurate information. To counter the challenge of under reporting, the study includes women within the extreme range of the age gap. To counter non-sampling errors, the study will compare the final error percentage with those in previous findings. Studies within equal range will be published as reliable.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Numerous studies reveal that women‘s education level and status in the society dictates the rates of infant and child mortality. This is evidenced by the high increased of the deaths among children and infants in the developing nations as compared to the rates in developed nations. The outcomes of the study were obtained from civil registration, which is preferred since the document has records of births and deaths on a permanent source. The source is also reliable since it gathers information as events take place and addresses the entire population. Such information is also available in the ministry of health based on the collected data in a national registration system relying on local health officials to register events following protocols already established depending on how live birth is defined. By enlisting effective approaches to reducing infant and child mortality high rates of infant and child mortality is likely to reduce. An important approach to save children’s lives entails reduction of inequities within the sections and income groups.
Guillot, M., Gerland, P., Pelletier, F. & Saabneh, A. (2012). Child Mortality Estimation: A Global Overview of Infant and Child Mortality Age Patterns in Light of New Empirical Data. PLOS. 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001299
Sullivan, J. Markey & Tureeva, N. Kelvin. “Infant and Child Mortality: Ministry of Health of the
Republic of Uzbekistan.” Uzbekistan Health Examination Survey 2004. 2012, pp. 77-85.
UNICEF. “Levels and Trends in Child Mortality.” UN IGME- 2014 report. 2015.
http://www.childmortality.org-. Accessed on March 27 2017.