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Socioeconomic Inequalities in Infant Mortality in Egypt: Analyzing Trends Between 1995 and 2014

Abstract

This paper analyses the trend of the socioeconomic inequalities in infant mortality rates in Egypt over the period 1995–2014, using repeated cross-sectional data from the National Demographic and Health Survey. A multivariate logistic regression and concentration indices are used to examine the demographic and socioeconomic correlates of infant mortality, and how the degree of socioeconomic disparities in child mortality rates has evolved over time. We find a significant drop in infant mortality rates from 63 deaths per 1000 live births in 1995 to 22 deaths per 1000 live births in 2014. However, analyzing trends over the study period reveals no corresponding progress in narrowing the socioeconomic disparities in childhood mortality. Infant mortality rates remain higher in rural areas and among low-income families than the national average. Results show an inverse association between infant mortality rates and living standard measures, with the poor bearing the largest burden of early child mortality. Though the estimated concentration indices show a decline in the degree of socioeconomic inequality in child mortality rates over time, infant mortality rate among the poor remains twice the rate of the richest wealth quintile. Nonetheless, this decline in the degree of socioeconomic inequality in child mortality is not supported by the results of the multivariate logistic regression model. Results of the logistic model show higher odds of infant mortality among rural households, children who are twins, households with risky birth intervals. We find no statistically significant association between infant mortality and child’s sex, access to safe water, mothers’ work, and mothers’ nutritional status. Infant mortality is negatively associated with household wealth and regular health care during pregnancy. Concerted effort and targeting intervention measures are still needed to reduce the degree of socioeconomic and regional inequalities in child health, including infant mortality, in Egypt.

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Fig. 1

Source Authors’ calculation based on data from different rounds of the EDHS

Fig. 2

Source Authors’ calculations based on data from several rounds of the EDHS

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Acknowledgements:

We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers, and the academic editor of the journal for the invaluable comments and suggestions that substantially improved the manuscript. This work has benefited from a financial grant and intellectual support from the Economic Research Forum. The contents and recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Research Forum.

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Correspondence to Mesbah Fathy Sharaf.

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Sharaf, M.F., Rashad, A.S. Socioeconomic Inequalities in Infant Mortality in Egypt: Analyzing Trends Between 1995 and 2014. Soc Indic Res 137, 1185–1199 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-017-1631-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-017-1631-3

Keywords

  • Infant mortality
  • Inequality
  • Trend analysis
  • Egypt