Birth intervals, breastfeeding and determinants of childhood mortality in Malawi

Soc Sci Med. 1999 Feb;48(3):301-12. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(98)00359-1.


Childhood mortality in Malawi is analyzed by employing proportional hazards models. The analysis uses highly reliable data collected from the 1992 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of Malawi. The results show that the substantial birth interval and maternal age effects are largely limited to the infant period. The influence of social and economic variables on the mortality risk and on the relationship between biodemographic variables and mortality risk is much enhanced with increasing age of the child. It has also been found that consideration of breastfeeding status of the child does not significantly alter interpretation of effects of preceding birth interval length on mortality risk, but does partially diminish the succeeding birth interval effect. The results are discussed and then summarized in the context of policy implications for Malawi. The paper addresses a very important issue in Malawi and it adds valuable insights to the base of knowledge in childhood mortality in sub-Sahara Africa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Intervals*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Malawi / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors