The impact of household wealth on child survival in Ghana

Lartey, Stella T. and Khanam, Rasheda ORCID: and Takahashi, Shingo (2016) The impact of household wealth on child survival in Ghana. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, 35 (38). ISSN 1606-0997

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Improving child health is one of the major policy agendas for most of the governments, especially for the developing countries. These governments have been implementing various strategies such as improving healthcare financing, improving access to health, increasing educational level and income level of the household to improve child health. Despite all these efforts, under-five and infant mortality rates still remain high in many developing nations. Some previous studies examined how economic development or household’s economic condition contribute to child survival in developing countries. In Ghana, the question as to what extent does economic circumstances of households reduces infant and child mortality still remain largely unanswered. Thus, the purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which wealth affects the survival of under-five children, using data from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of Ghana.

The DHS is detailed dataset that provides comprehensive information on households and their demographic characteristics in Ghana. Data was obtained by distributing questionnaires to women (from 6,000 households) of reproductive age between 15 and 49 years, which asked, among other things, their birth history information. The Weibull hazard model with gamma frailty was used to estimate wealth effect, as well as the trend of wealth effect on child’s survival probability.

We find that household wealth status has a significant effect on the child survival in Ghana. A child is more likely to survive when he/she is from a household with high wealth status. Among other factors, birth spacing and parental education are found to be highly significant to increase a child’s survival probability.

Our findings offer plausible mechanisms for the association of household wealth and child survival. We therefore suggest that the Government of Ghana strengthens and sustains improved livelihood programs, which reduce poverty. They should also take further initiatives that will increase adult education and improve health knowledge. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study in Ghana that combines four cross sectional data sets from DHS to study a policy-relevant question. We extend Standard Weibull hazard model into Weibull hazard model with gamma frailty, which gives us a more accurate estimation. Finally, the findings of this study are of interest not only because they provide insights into the determinants of child health in Ghana and other developing countries, but they also suggest policies beyond the scope of health.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © The Author(s). 2016 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 05:47
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2022 04:49
Uncontrolled Keywords: child survival, household wealth, Weibull hazard model, gamma frailty, Ghana
Fields of Research (2008): 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140202 Economic Development and Growth
14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140208 Health Economics
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4404 Development studies > 440499 Development studies not elsewhere classified
38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380108 Health economics
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