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The impact of mother's education on infant and child mortality in selected countries in the ESCWA region. Discussion note.
[Unpublished] 1992. Presented at the International Conference on Population and Development [ICPD], 1994, Expert Group Meeting on Population and Women, Gaborone, Botswana, June 22-26, 1992. 21 p. (ESD/P/ICPD.1994/EG.III/DN.13)A number of researchers have associated child and infant mortality in developing countries with maternal education. The correlation has remained strong even when proximate variables and other socioeconomic variables were controlled. Setting was considered key to refinement of the associations. The illustrations from Jordan and Egypt showed that a particular level of education was needed before fertility declined and urban-rural differences prevailed. Analysis of 1980 Egyptian Fertility Survey data indicated a strong association between child survival and maternal education. Children of women with a secondary education had the lowest infant and child mortality. The impact of maternal education was strongest in Cairo and Alexandria. Findings showed that the child mortality rate for rural women with secondary education was 38% of that for illiterate women; the rate for educated urban women was 61% of that for uneducated women. Analysis of Egyptian Fertility Survey data for 1980 found that child mortality at any age was inversely related to maternal educational level. The infant mortality rate for uneducated mothers was 89% greater than for mothers with 6 or more years of schooling; neonatal mortality was 91% greater, postneonatal mortality was 86% greater, and child mortality was 108% greater. Multivariate analysis indicated that maternal education of at least 6 years decreased postneonatal mortality by 46.2%. Infant mortality was reduced by 26% with at least 6 years of maternal schooling. Child mortality was not affected by maternal education in the multivariate analysis. Data analysis based on data from the Egypt Pregnancy Wastage and Infant Mortality Survey, 1980, revealed that probability of dying in infancy decreased with increased levels of maternal and paternal education. Neonatal mortality was most affected by parental educational status. Multivariate analysis of Jordanian Fertility Survey data for 1976 and 1981 showed that mortality was higher for mothers with less than 6 years of education. Maternal and paternal education had independent effects, but paternal education had the greater impact. Paternal education lasting 9 or more years had an impact on urban child mortality, whereas paternal education must reach at least 12 years in rural areas in order for the effect to be observed. Inconsistent results were found for the impact of spousal differences in education. Rural lack of education had the strongest impact on child survival.