African Health Sciences

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Association of type of birth attendant and place of delivery on infant mortality in sub-Saharan Africa

Whitney A. Stanley, Larissa R. Brunner Huber, Sarah B. Laditka, Elizabeth F. Racine


Objective: To examine the association between type of birth attendant and place of delivery, and infant mortality (IM).

Methods: This cross-sectional study used self-reported data from the Demographic Health Surveys for women in Ghana, Kenya, and Sierra Leone. Logistic regression estimated odds ratios (ORs) and95% confidence intervals.

Results: In Ghana and Sierra Leone, odds of IM were higher for women who delivered at a health facility versus women who delivered at a household residence (OR=3.18, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.29-7.83, p=0.01 and OR=1.62, 95% CI: 1.15-2.28, p=0.01, respectively). Compared to the use of health professionals, the use of birth attendants for assistance with delivery was not significantly associated with IM for women in Ghana or Sierra Leone (OR=2.17, 95% CI: 0.83-5.69, p=0.12 and OR=1.25, 95% CI: 0.92-1.70, p=0.15, respectively). In Kenya, odds of IM, though nonsignificant, were lower for women who used birth attendants than those who used health professionals to assist with delivery (OR=0.85, 95% CI: 0.51-1.41, p=0.46), and higher with delivery at a health facility versus a household residence (OR=1.29, 95% CI: 0.81-2.03, p=0.28).

Conclusions: Women in Ghana and Sierra Leone who delivered at a health facility had statistically significant increased odds of IM. Birth attendant type-IM associations were not statistically significant.Future research should consider culturally-sensitive interventions to improve maternal health and help reduce IM.

Keywords: birth attendant, infant mortality, sub-Saharan Africa
AJOL African Journals Online