A Mother’s Death and Child Survival: A Comparative Analysis of Two Demographic Surveillance Sites in Rural South Africa

Brian Houle , Australian National University
Chodziwadziwa Kabudula, University of the Witwatersrand
Kobus Herbst, Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies
Samuel J. Clark, The Ohio State University

Maternal and child mortality levels in Sub-Saharan Africa are among the highest globally, but evidence on risk is lacking in rural, poor areas. We aim to provide comparable evidence on the relationship between children’s mortality and the timing of their mothers’ deaths using data from two South African demographic surveillance sites. Data were organised as child-months for under-five children. We estimated the probability of dying using multi-level relative risk regressions. A child’s probability of dying began to increase several months before the mother’s death and continued for several months afterwards. Over time the temporal pattern attenuated, with the probability of dying associated with the timing of a mother’s death decreasing in 2004-2007 and 2008-2015. Our findings show evidence that children are equally vulnerable in the period before a mother’s death as afterwards, providing evidence to help direct public health planning to help support vulnerable children.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1