Adolescent childbearing experiences in Kenya: geographical and socioeconomic determinants

Aurora Angeli, Università di Bologna
Carla Pezzulo, Università di Bologna
Rosella Rettaroli, Università di Bologna
Angelina Mazzocchetti, Regione Emilia-Romagna

Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the highest level of teenage pregnancies in the world. In spite of that, there is paucity of empirical research on causes of teenage pregnancies in African countries. Some studies on this topic highlight the presence of unmet reproductive health needs of adolescent in different regions. Improving maternal health has been established as a key development priority among the Millennium Development Goals, and upgrading reproductive and maternal health is usually associated with the eradication of inequality and poverty and with the presence of health care programs and services devoted to girls’ education. We attempt to investigate the geographical and socioeconomic determinants of both teenage pregnancies and maternal health behaviours among adolescent women in Kenya. We want to ascertain the influence of the availability of health care facilities mainly oriented to the specific needs of reproductive health. We consider all the adolescent girls aged 19 or younger and those who gave birth at the same age interval, married and unmarried when their first baby was born. Main data are represented by 2003 Kenyan Demographic and Health Survey. In addition, the DHS data set collects Global Positioning System locators for each of the primary sampling units included in the samples that enable a deep geographical analysis. Other community variables such as the presence of health care facilities by typology together with their distance from the PSUs are used. We perform a multivariate multilevel analysis to estimate the influence that individual, household, and community-level factors have on the risk of adolescent childbearing. Additionally, a spatial component allows for the presence and proximity of maternal health services. We expect that the availability of reproductive health facilities acts together with levels of socio-economic development, individual and household characteristics and community fertility norms, in influencing individual reproductive behavior at very young ages.

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Presented in Session 20: Sexual and reproductive health: adolescents