Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp 1389-1399

First online:

Influence of Maternal Education on Child Immunization and Stunting in Kenya

  • B. A. AbuyaAffiliated withDepartment of Education Theory and Policy, Pennsylvania State UniversityEducation Research Program, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Shelter Afrique Center Email author 
  • , E. O. OnsomuAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at CharlotteThe School of Health Sciences, Winston Salem State University
  • , J. K. KimaniAffiliated withHealth Systems and Challenges, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Shelter Afrique Center
  • , D. MooreAffiliated withDepartment of Visual, Performing, and Communication Arts, Johnson C. Smith University

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In 2003, the child mortality rate in Kenya was 115/1000 children compared to 88/1000 average for Sub-Saharan African countries. This study sought to determine the effect of maternal education on immunization (n = 2,169) and nutritional status (n = 5,949) on child’s health. Cross-sectional data, Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS)-2003 were used for data analyses. 80% of children were stunted and 49% were immunized. After controlling for confounding, overall, children born to mothers with only a primary education were 2.17 times more likely to be fully immunized compared to those whose mothers lacked any formal education, P < 0.001. For nutrition, unadjusted results, children born to mothers with primary education were at 94% lower odds of having stunted growth compared to mothers with no primary education, P < 0.01. Policy implications for child health in Kenya should focus on increasing health knowledge among women for better child health outcomes.


Child health Maternal education Immunization Child nutrition Health knowledge Kenya