The correlation between the serious diseases affecting child mortality in Sierra Leone
Davids, Saarah Fatoma Gadija
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Child mortality in Sierra Leone is the highest ranked in the world. Government officials and researchers have tried to understand how and why this has become such a big phenomenon in Sierra Leone. Researchers have come up with three main causes for child mortality in Sierra Leone: maternal factors, environmental factors and health factors. The majority of research has been carried out on maternal, as well as environmental factors. However, minimal research has been carried out on health factors in Sierra Leone. Therefore, the objective of this study is to see how maternal and environmental factors have an effect on health factors, which in turn causes child mortality. The data used was from the 2008 Sierra Leone Demographic and Household Survey (SLDHS). The child dataset was used as it contained the information required from both the mother and the child. Of the three categories that were used, the first was maternal factors, which included the mother’s age, the mother's occupation, the mother's education, the sex of the child, the birth number and religion. The second category was environmental factors, which included the source of water, type of toilet, place of residence, source of energy and the dwelling material used for the household. The final category was health factors, which included whether the child had a fever in the last 2 weeks, short rapid breaths, a cough or fever, a problem in the chest or runny nose and whether the child had Diarrhoea recently and still has Diarrhoea. The study showed that child mortality had four statistically significant factors associated with it: place of residence, birth number, religion and type of toilet facility. Furthermore, when it came to diseases affecting children, the SLDHS had not given much information, so we looked only at the effects it had on children. From our results, we concluded that ARI, Diarrhoea and Measles each had one variable that was statistically significant to it. As for Pneumonia, there were no variables associated with children contracting the disease.