Understanding the rapid decline of infant mortality in Turkey: a structural equation modelling approach

Hande Tunckanat, Hacettepe University
Tuğba Adalı, Hacettepe University
Pelin Cagatay Seckiner, Hacettepe University

Infant mortality in Turkey, which has been regarded as a “puzzle” until recently, has shown an unexpected rapid decline in the last two decades. There has been a decrease of 68 percent (from 53 to 17 per 1000) in infant mortality rate between TDHS-1993 and TDHS-2008. Surprisingly, Turkey has already reached the target of the Millennium Development Goals, regarding the reduction of infant deaths by two thirds between 1990 and 2015 (Goal 4). This goal has been reached by only a few countries so far, many of which are European, such as Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Estonia, etc., whose levels of infant mortality are well below average compared to that of developing countries. Accordingly, the main objective of this ongoing study is to question the mechanisms behind this rapid decline in Turkey. Previous researches have underlined the importance of improvement in the health system, antenatal and postnatal care in particular. However, not all crucial determinants of infant mortality have proven to be significant in former quantitative attempts, pointing out the need for further statistical analysis. Therefore, multivariate analysis is applied by using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) in this study, which enables the examination of casual and indirect relations and to work with latent variables. Data employed is obtained from the birth histories of the most recent Demographic and Health Survey in Turkey, which was carried out in 2008.

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Presented in Session 92: Infant and childhood mortality in developing countries