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Increased Maternal Education In India Linked With Lower Under-Five Deaths: Study

Increasing maternal education, and especially secondary education, was found to reduce the risk of under-five deaths across the surveys, said researchers

Increased Maternal Education In India Linked With Lower Under-Five Deaths Study
Maternal education, particularly secondary education, remained a protective factor for under-five mortality in both rural and urban areas: Researchers

New Delhi: Increase in maternal education in India is associated with reduction in preventable deaths in children under the age of five, according to a study. The research, published in the journal Health & Place, is the first to explore the relationship between maternal education and children’s health in the rural-urban context in India. “Understanding how education affects under-five mortality is crucial for understanding future population dynamics in developing countries,” said study corresponding author, Samir K.C from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria.

Also Read: One Child Or Youth Died In Every 4.4 Seconds In 2021 Due To Lack Of Basic Health Care: UN Report

The researchers analysed five rounds of the Indian National Family Health Survey (NFHS I-V) conducted between 1992 to 1993, and 2019 to 2021.

The under-five mortality rate was calculated using data from a questionnaire, which collected detailed information about birth history data among women, especially the date of birth and survival status of each live birth, and the age at death of each deceased live birth.

The questionnaire also provided additional information such as age, education, religion, caste, and reproductive behaviours.

The data gathered was then fed into a computer model to analyse predictors of under-five mortality.

The results show that under-five mortality remained higher in rural India across the five study surveys, which may be attributed to poor socioeconomic and healthcare conditions that prevailed there.

However, after controlling for socioeconomic and maternal health predictors, the earlier surveys show a higher risk of under-five deaths in urban areas that have converged in recent years, resulting in no significant difference between rural and urban areas, the researchers said.

Increasing maternal education, and especially secondary education, was found to reduce the risk of under-five deaths across the surveys, they said.

“In recent years, there have been no significant differences in the under-five mortality rate of children born to mothers with an education level below- or at the primary level, but we know that in the past, the impact of maternal education on mortality differed between rural and urban areas,” said study co-author Moradhvaj, who is also from IIASA.

“We found that women with a secondary education living in urban areas, experienced lower child mortality than their rural counterparts with a similar level of education. We did, however, not find the same effect in the most recent surveys,” Moradhvaj explained.

Overall, maternal education, particularly secondary education, remained a protective factor for under-five mortality in both rural and urban areas, even after controlling for predictors, the researchers concluded.

“While current policies seem to be on the right track, it will be important to increase the educational opportunities in rural and urban areas with a particular focus on secondary education for girls to ensure that we keep up the decline in the under-five mortality rate in both rural and urban areas in India,” K.C. added.

Also Read: UP Government Provides Skilled Birth Attendant Training To Reduce Maternal Mortality Rate

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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