Survival analysis of the effect of birthspacing on infant mortality among Ekitis, southwestern Nigeria

Ayo S. Adebowale, University of Ibadan
Babatunde J. Abe, Yaba College of Technology
Joshua O. Akinyemi, University of Ibadan

Researches are consistent with the view that birth interval is related to infant mortality. Survival chances of infants is jeopardized when births are closely spaced, which most mothers particularly in Ekiti communities are ignorant of. Previous studies in these communities have failed to address the impact of child-spacing on infant mortality, hence, this study.Retrospective information on infant survival were sought from mothers (n=982) who had her most recent child (index child) within the past two years before the survey. The analyses show that majority of the non-first births occurred before 3-years interval. Among the respondents who gave birth to their index child in the last two years before the survey, 54 percent reported spacing shorter than 3years. While 20.1 percent of the respondents said their index child was spaced for less than 2years apart. The median birth interval was 33.0 months. Cox-regression model identified that the risk of infant deaths peak for births spaced for less than 24 months and least when births are spaced for between 36 and 59 months. The likelihood of infant deaths among mothers who left an interval of 24-35 months between births is 2.0 (p<0.05) times those who left 36-59 months birth intervals. Controlling for confounding variables reduced the strength of the risk and reverse the significance effect of birth intervals 24-35 and 60+ relative to less than 24 months birth interval. However, mothers who spaced births for less than 24 months are 2.9 (p<0.01) more likely to experienced infant mortality than those who left 36-59 months interval after control of confounding variables. These analyses support previous thinking about shifting the earlier recommended birth interval of at least 24 months to minimum of 36 months.

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