Under-five mortality in LDCs: the long way to reach the millennium development goal

Giuseppe Gabrielli, Università di Bari
Anna Paterno, Università di Bari

The under-five mortality rate is one of the most sensitive and used indicators of the young children’s health and of the socio-economic context. The United Nations include its reduction among the eight Millennium Development Goals. The target n. 4 of MDGs is to reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate. In 2007, the heterogeneity in this indicator in about 110 developing countries is witnessed by values that vary from 7‰ (of Thailand and Cuba) to about 260‰ (of Sierra Leone and Afghanistan). Young children die, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, for largely preventable or treatable causes. This paper, considering the widespread literature on this topic and collecting the numerous available macro-data, aims to reach a double target. In order to investigate how countries resemble each other or differ with regard to their “models” and “trends" of the under-five mortality, the classical procedure of factor analysis is used with the principal components method (PCA), followed by an hierarchical classification analysis (cluster analysis). The former was used to summarize eleven variables (the rate in 2007, its variation in the period 1990-2007 and the principle causes of death) initially adopted to describe the countries. The cluster analysis highlights different "types" of countries, defined on the basis of the principal factors emerging from the PCA. The description of the clusters helps to picture the different existing contexts. After that, considering these contexts and using regression models, we define the main socio-economic and demographic determinants of the under-five mortality and its variation according to the literature. In adding, we estimate the necessary variations of the main predictors in order to reach the target n.4 of the MDGs. These analyses would provide useful information for policy makers and indications for the interventions need to be done.

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