Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Sociology

First Advisor

Winfred Avogo


Rapid population increase in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) over the last several decades and limited healthcare interventions have exacerbated child and maternal mortality. The maternal mortality ratio (deaths per 100,000 live births) in Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for at least 50 percent of maternal deaths globally. In 2020 alone, 5 million children under 5 years died in Kenya. Research also points out that, tragically, many of the mothers and children died of preventable or treatable conditions. Previous research has focused on biological or socioeconomic determinants of child mortality rather than their joint influences. In this study, we investigate the premise that all social and economic determinants of child mortality and risks of maternal mortality operate through a set of biological mechanisms and proximate determinants to influence mortality. Using data from the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Surveys (KDHS) drawn from women aged 15-49, we find that children born to women with primary education or lower were more likely to die before age five compared to women with secondary education or higher. Younger women (19 years or younger) were also more likely to experience higher child and maternal mortality rates than older women. Women giving birth to babies with higher-order births were more likely to experience higher child mortality and risks of maternal mortality rates than those with lower-order deliveries. Women with no education experienced higher rates of child mortality and risk of maternal mortality than those with primary education or higher. Also, children born to married women were less likely to die than those born to unmarried women. Overall, women from rural areas experienced higher rates of child mortality and maternal mortality risk than those from urban areas. The results support much of the previous literature on high-risk fertility behaviors and child mortality, which showed that younger age at first birth and short preceding birth interval significantly increase the risk of child mortality and reduce the chances of antenatal care visits and hospital deliveries. Women from rural areas are less likely to access prenatal care and hospital delivery services than those in urban areas. Furthermore, mothers and children born in health facilities have a lower relative risk of dying than those born at home. Using the Mosley and Chen 1984 analytical framework for determinants of child and maternal survival, I incorporated socio-economic and biological variables to examine the relationship between high-risk fertility behaviors and child mortality and risks of maternal mortality. We discuss the findings in the context of frameworks intended to advance research and influence health policy and medical interventions to improve child survival.KEYWORDS: High-risk fertility behaviors, child survival, risks of maternal mortality, biological characteristics, social determinants


Imported from Kiprop_ilstu_0092N_12445.pdf


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