THE IMPACT OF HEALTH INVESTMENTS ON CHILD MORTALITY IN WEST AFRICA (1992-2012)

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ABSTRACT



This study examines how various health investments culminate in child health outcomes in Africa, case study the ECOWAS region. The main objectives of the study includes evaluating the impact of health inputs to health on child mortality in developing and advanced nations, and to determine if socioeconomic status has significant impact on child mortality. The study used panel data gathered from the World Bank World Development Indicators database. Data analysis relied on the use of techniques such as fixed effects estimations and ordinary pooled OLS. Results reveal that there is a significant relationship between some health investments and child mortality, and health investments culminate in greater child health outcomes in developing countries than in the developed world. Also, socioeconomic status was found to impact on child mortality.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of Contents
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background to the Study
1.2       Statement of Research Problem
1.3       Research Questions
1.4       Objectives of the Study
1.5       Research Hypotheses
1.6       Scope of the Study
1.7       Justification of the Study
1.8       Sources of Data
1.9       Structure of the Study
1.10     Definition of Terms

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Conceptual Issues and Stylized facts
2.2.1 Health investments
2.2.2 Child Health
2.3 Theoretical Review
2.3.1 Health Production Theory
2.4 Review of Empirical Issues
2.5 Methodological Issues
2.6 Conclusion

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHOD
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Theoretical framework
3.3 Model Specification
3.4 A priori Expectations
3.5 Technique of Estimation
3.6 Data Sources
3.7 Data Presentation and Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Presentation and Interpretation of Results
4.3 Conclusion

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Summary
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendations
5.4 Suggestions for Further Study

References


CHAPTER ONE


INTRODUCTION


1.1       BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY


The health of a child has futuristic effects on the productivity of that individual at adulthood. Several illnesses that affect children spread out into the learning ability of such a child, and so skills acquisition may not be as efficient as it would be in a healthier child. Also, physical deformities (such as those caused by poliomyelitis) can affect a child’s (and later on, the adult’s) ability to function properly. This reduces the level of physical productivity of such an individual (Report of the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health 2013). Also, a child’s health directly affects an economy in aggregate terms, as more is saved, which would have been spent on medical care for the sick child. Also, more can be spent on educating the child, and so the child can attain higher levels of literacy and be more useful in the economy. Furthermore, a healthy child frees up time for the parents to work, adding to productivity and sick-free days at work. Children can be seen to contribute to productive capacity in Africa, as poverty has made it necessary for children to work as well as attend school. This emphasizes the need for improved child health in this part of the world.

The health of an individual, especially at the early years, is hence very crucial for the proper development and performance of such a person, and for the economy as a whole. Several factors may affect the health of children, such as the socioeconomic status of the parents (Boco, 2010; Rasella et. al 2013). This is a broad determinant, as the income level of the parents determines the health status of the parents, the level of nutrition the child receives, access to sanitation facilities and safe drinking water (Gunther and Fink 2010; Wolfgang et. al 2013) as well as access to primary health care such as immunizations and vaccinations against diseases such as measles, poliomyelitis and others, which all impact on the health of a child.

Another determinant of the health of a child may be the level of spending on health care both by individuals and by the government (Novignon 2012; Yaqub 2002). Also, the health and education background of the mother to a large extent influences the health of a child (Chen and Li, 2006; Ewald and Boughton 2002; Desai and Alva 1998). These determining factors all represent investments in the health of children at the individual and family level.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), West Africa accounted for over 40 percent of Africa’s child deaths. The major cause of these deaths has been attributed to neonatal diseases and malaria, both linked to malnutrition and poor environmental health. Although the numbers have decreased in recent years, 41 percent of our children under the age of five are still stunted, 23 percent are still underweight. Malnutrition is concentrated in the rural areas, and primarily effects poor women and children. The underlying problems leading to such high levels of malnutrition include maternal malnutrition, lack of education, poor breastfeeding practices and lack of access to effective health services (State of Africa’s Children, 2008).

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the African region over the last decade has shown little improvement, and in some countries there has been a worsening. In 2000, about 2,989 out of 100,000 persons had HIV in Africa. By 2009, the figure dropped to 2,740.In Senegal the figure rose from 300 to 472 out of 100,000 persons. In Sierra Leone in rose from 490 to 860 between 2000 and 2009. Others showed marked improvement. Liberia showed a drop from 1,827 to 937 per 100,000.


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