SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS AFFECTINGINFANT MORTALITY IN ANAMBRA STATE

Author: Agbapuonwu Noreen Ebelechukwu
Department: Human Kinetics and Health Education
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Infant mortality is the death of babies from 0 – 12 months / one year of life. The death of an infant is devastating to the family. The death of an infant could result from many factors such as age of the mother at time of birth of the infant, education, parity, birth spacing, antenatal visits, place of delivery, place of residence, religion, and occupation among others.Infant mortality has been a global issue. It is a major issue in developing countries and it provides one of the best indices of infant health of a country. This is why it was specifically stated as one of the goals of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) namely, to reduce infant mortality by two thirds (2/3) by the year 2015. UNICEF predicted a worldwide reduction at 22.0 per 1000 live births by 2015. The status in Anambra State is poor as reflected in the high infant mortality rate (IMR) of 74 per 1000 live births despite all efforts to reduce rate of child death through the provision of primary health centers and health posts virtually in every town. The main purpose of this study was to determine the socio-economic and environmental factors affecting infant mortality in Anambra State.The study was guided by eleven research questions and eleven hypotheses. Descriptive survey design was used to examine the patterns of infant mortality. The population consisted of women of child bearing age in 14 communities selected from seven Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Anambra State. The sample was 432 mothers from the 14 communities in the selected seven LGAs in Anambra State who have experienced infant mortality. The seven LGAs and the 14 communities were selected throughrandomsampling technique. The instrument for data collection was a Structured Interview Schedule on Infant Mortality (SISIM)which was developed by the researcher, validated and with reliability coefficient of 0.90. Data were analyzed using percentages for research questions while the Fisher’s exact test was used to analyze the hypotheses. The result of the study showed that there were a significant differences between infant mortalities experienced by mothers of different age groups(p<0.05);parity(p<0.0001);birth spacing (p<0.0001);placeof delivery (p<0.0001);religion (p<0.05);parents occupation (p<0.05) and father’s education (p<0.001). However, there was no significant difference between the infant mortalities experienced by mothers who attended antenatal visits and mother’s place of residence. The researcher therefore recommended the need to create awareness on those factors that affect infant mortality in Anambra State and also the need for government to train more health educators in order to reduce infant mortality in the state.

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