Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Public health
Title Single motherhood and neonatal and infant mortality in Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Burundi
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/26947310

Childhood mortality is a stubborn problem and remains highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Existing research on childhood mortality in SSA indicate that most of the childhood deaths are from preventable causes such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, measles, malaria, HIV and underlying malnutrition, acute respiratory infections, whooping cough, tuberculosis, bronchopneumonia, dirty feeding bottles and utensils, inadequate disposal of household refuse and poor storage of drinking water. However, insufficient attention has been given to maternal marital status and childhood mortality relationships. Understanding the implications of maternal marital status for childhood mortality can add to our knowledge of the correlates of neonatal and infant mortality and furnish insights to support the design and delivery of interventions to address the problem.


To document and examine the extent to which the association between neonatal and infant mortality varies between single and ever-married mothers in Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, and Burundi. A single mother is defined in this study as a woman who has either lived with a partner, married before, widowed, separated during the survey periods and has given at least one life birth. Ever-married woman is woman who has been married at least once in their lives although their current marital status may not be married.

Study design

Data for this study were drawn from the latest Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Burundi. The selected datasets came from 2010 Burkina Faso DHS (BFDHS), 2008 Sierra Leone DHS (SLDHS) and 2010 Burundi DHS (EDSB II).


The relevant data for this study (women age 15–49 years who had at least one live birth within the five years preceding the survey) were extracted from the whole dataset of each country (Burkinabe (n = 17,087), Sierra Leonean (n = 7374) and Burundian (n = 9389). Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were used to assess the association between neonatal and infant mortality and maternal marital status. All data were analysed using STATA Version 11.


The multivariate logistic regression analyses yielded significantly increased risk of neonatal and infant mortality among single mothers.


Neonates and infants of single mothers are at increased risk of neonatal and infant mortality compared to those of ever-married women.

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