The Impact of Formal Maternal Education on Child Survival in Ghana

Master's Thesis, 2016

37 Pages, Grade: 3.6


Table of Contents



List of Tables

List of Figures

Chapter One
1.1 Introduction

Chapter Two
2.1 Theoretical Works
2.2 Key Factors that Mediate between Mothers Education and Child Survival

Chapter Three
3.1 Data Source
3.2 Data Summary and Analysis
3.3 Descriptive Statistics
3.3.1 Sample Characteristics by Year

Chapter Four
4.1 Results and Discussion

Chapter Five
5.1 Conclusion and Recommendation




The Impact of Formal Maternal Education on Child Survival in Ghana

Presented by

Samuel Laari

Master of Arts in International Development

International University of Japan 2016

This study used data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey for the period of 1993 to 2008. It investigated the impact of formal maternal education on child survival in Ghana using a probit model.

Mothers’ education had a positive and significant effect on child survival. In 2003 the probability of a child surviving up to age five increased by 15.4 percentage points for one year increase in mothers’ education, using control variables and 8.9 percentage points for a year increase in mothers’ education, after including socio-economic and reproductive factors of women, which revealed the true partial effect of maternal education. It was observed that socio-economic and reproductive factors of women had an impact as well, hence policy makers should act to improve on these factors in order to complement the effect of formal maternal education to promote child survival in Ghana.

Keywords: Child Survival, GDHS, Maternal Education, Ghana, Mediate, Probit.



I am most grateful to God Almighty for his favor and guidance in my studies in International University of Japan.

I would also like to thank my thesis advisor Professor Takahashi who is also the Dean of Graduate school of International Relations for his guidance and encouragement, which has made this thesis a reality and has been a key to my success story. I am truly grateful to his very valuable comments on this thesis.

I would also like to thank Professor Chino my Examiner for spending time to read through my thesis and the encouraging words he gave me on the day of examination.

I would also like to acknowledge the faculty, staff members and wonderfully supportive friends for the various contributions in my stay in this great University.

I am most grateful to the Ministry of health Ghana for this Opportunity to showcase the talent and good name of Ghana in the international community. I appreciate the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japanese Grand Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS) for the financial support.

Special thanks to JDS staff in charge of Ghana and Sri Lanka for the motherly care you gave us while in Japan. You cared for us like your own children especially your constant visits, quick mails to us anytime there was an earthquake or a typhoon. You made us feel at home and I am truly grateful.

Finally, I must express my very profound gratitude to my family and to Lawrencia my fiancée for their prayer and encouragement. This dream fulfillment would not have been attainable without them. Thank you.

List of Tables

1. Summary and Description of variables used for Analysis

2. Total Children sampled by year

3. Summary of Child Survival by Region

4. Probit Estimates of Child Survival in Ghana from 1993 to 2008 with only Control Variables

5. Probit Estimates of Child Survival from the Year 1993 to

List of Figures

1. Regional Trend of Child Survival

2. Child Survival Trend using Wealth Index

Chapter One

1.1 Introduction

This study investigates the relationship between formal maternal education and child survival in Ghana. In order to find out the effect of maternal education, it will include socio-economic and reproductive variables of the mothers, which are believed to mediate between maternal education and child survival. Raj et al. (2010) found that there was a high probability of an increase in nutritional problems of children whose mothers got married at a lesser age. Other factors such as the size of the child at birth, twin, the total number of children ever born and desire for pregnancy were found to affect child survival as well. Place of residence and distance in terms of access to health care facilities would also affect child survival.

Similar studies on this topic in Ghana are scarce, however, some studies have found that mothers’ years of schooling have a large impact on child survival directly or indirectly. Maternal education can affect child health in one or many ways such as nutrition. Aslam and Kingdon (2012), Cochrane et al. (1982), Frost et al. (2005), Kassauf and Senaur (1996).

Child health and childhood mortality are measures of development in the society (Zachary et al. 2013). That is why ensuring child survival is of great importance. MDG 4 was set to reduce under-five mortality two-thirds by the end of 2015 from its 2000 goals. Under-five mortality is decreasing across the globe and it was predicted to be around 7.2 million in 2011 (Lozano et al. 2011). About106 countries were predicted to reduce under-child mortality sharply by 2000-2010. However unforeseen challenges make it very difficult to attain these targets. These challenges would make many governments unable to attain MDG 4’s main objectives by 2015 (Lozano et al. 2011).

According to the 2008 GDHS report, the under-five mortality rate was 80 deaths per 1,000 live births in the most recent five-year period, and the infant mortality rate was 50 deaths per 1,000 live births (GSS, 2009). Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME) led by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) shows that child mortality rate in Ghana declined from 122 in 1990 to 74 per 1000 live births in 2010 with a yearly average rate of decline about 2.5. This rate was not significant for Ghana to attain MDG main objective of 40 per 1,000 live births by 2015 (IGME, 2011).

According to Mosley and Chen (1984), child survival is due to many reasons including the reproductive behavior of women. Caldwell and McDonald (1982) also showed that there was a great impact of maternal education on promoting child survival. Mothers’ years of schooling were more important than other factors such as access to health care. Cochrane et al. (1982) also showed the relationship between parents’ education and its effects on child health. Children of educated parents were more likely to survive.

In Pakistan, mothers’ knowledge on health matters and her ability to take a decision in relation to domestic matters processed through which the educational level of mother’s had a positive impact on the health of children. Aslam and Kingdon (2012). Formal education builds the capacities of women in decision-making with regards to domestic issues, which would promote child survival. This indicates an indirect impact on mothers’ educational level child health.

Therefore, the objective of this study is to determine the factors that affect child survival in Ghana over the period of 1993 to 2008, through formal maternal education and to identify the magnitude and significance effects and its relevance to Ghana.

Chapter Two

2.1 Theoretical Works

This section delves into theories on related studies of this topic. First it looks at how various measures impact on child survival. It also looks at the direct or indirect impact maternal education has on child survival. Mosley and Chen (1984) looked at social and biological indicators that affect child survival. They categorized the determinants into maternal such as bio-demographic and other factors. The quality of air was considered environmental and many physical health factors such as medical treatment were the determinants of child survival. Cochrane et al. (1982) tested the impact maternal education had on the nutritional status of children by acquiring knowledge on preventive measures and how to earn income. Aslam and Kingdon (2012) and Frost et al. (2005) looked at socio-economic indicators, accessibility of information by mothers’ participation in paid jobs and other indicators that mediate the impact of maternal education.

2.2 Key Factors that Mediate between Mothers Education and Child Survival

Marital status, household size, and reproductive behavioral factors were found by (Dejene and Girma 2013, Mekonnen 2011, Mekonnen et al. 2013); to be the bio-demographic and socioeconomic indicators that impacted on child survival.

Indicators such as the age of the mother and access to social amenities were found to have a positive impact on child survival by (Mulugeta 2012). Maternal education was the key component of child survival found by all of these studies. They looked at the direct partial impact of maternal education. This study looks at the partial impact of maternal education over the years; it’s interrelation with other indicators that have either direct or indirect impact on child survival.

Factors such as electricity, public toilets, proper sanitary disposals and piped water were essential indicators that impacted positively on child survival by Adebayo and Fahrmeir (2005). The study also saw time as an essential indicator as well as the period of breastfeeding. It was revealed that mother’s often involvement of job out of home adversely impacted on the probability of child survival. Mother’s education and her decision-making ability in the household were the most effective indicators of child survival in Nepal according to Adhikaril and Sawangdee (2011).

Main factors whose roles are usually checked through maternal education and child health include socio-economic status, health knowledge, and attitude towards modern health care utilization, women autonomy and fertility (Aslam and Kingdon, 2012; Buor, 2003; Frost et al., 2005). Each of these categories can be represented by a group of indicators. For example, putting together indicators such as wealth, husband educational level, and husband occupation captures the socio-economic status of a household. Frost et al. (2005) showed that socio-economic status was the highest essential channel, which connects educational level of mothers and the nutritional status of children. Cleland and Van Ginnken (1988) stated that education is a key indicator of the socio-economic status of a household. Income, water, latrine facilities, housing, and similar indicators are economic merits related to education. These channels revealed almost half of the relationship between education and child survival.

Ikeako et al. (2006) in Nigeria, found a link between maternal education and paternal education. According to Barrett and Browne (1996) mothers who are educated had a higher understanding of information and matters of health education than women who are not educated. Education of mothers resulted in a huge difference in the utilization of the services provided by health facilities though they have the same level of accessibility to these services without discrimination in terms of educational level. Access to health care service is very much determined to some extent by educational level of mothers in some countries (Cleland and Van Ginneken 1988). Considering interrelations of mother’s educational level and public health programs, Barrera (1990) suggested that educational level of mothers’ impact on the health of children by means of efficiency and allocative effects. Behaviors and attitude towards healthcare activities, which directly impacts on child nutritional level, has a link with maternal educational level (Frost et al., 2005).

Chapter Three

3.1 Data Source

This study used data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Surveys (GDHS) conducted in1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008 respectively. It is nationally representative sample including urban and rural areas in the 10 regions of Ghana. It looks at trends in demographic and health indicators and is conducted every five years (GSS, 2009).

3.2 Data Summary and Analysis

Indicators such as socioeconomic, demographic, and behavioral features were observations relevant to this study. The dependent variable in this study is dichotomous, which denotes the survival of a child at age five or below in the five years preceding the 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008 surveys respectively. Probit models were estimated to determine factors of child survival using data from each year and the pooled data set. The model is specified below:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


Ci represents child alive at age five or below (1 if the child alive and 0 if not),

X1…,Xn are the independent variables (socioeconomic, biological, behavioral, and environmental factors),

β’s are the coefficients that are estimated from the model, and E is the error term that represents the unobserved factors that would have an effect on child survival.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


Ci represents child alive at age five or below (1 if the child alive and 0 if not),

X represents control variables for geographical differences, sex of the child and age of the mother.

Y represents mother’s education, and

Z represents explanatory variables that are likely to affect child survival, such as socioeconomic status together with reproductive behaviors of women. The relevance is on magnitude and significance of coefficients for maternal education at different specifications. The impact of Z would be the difference in the magnitude of the coefficient for maternal education from probit estimation without the Z and with Z. The change in the significance level of the two coefficients shows the impact of the relationship between maternal education and the Z variables.

Table 1 Summary and Description of variables used for Analysis

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


Excerpt out of 37 pages


The Impact of Formal Maternal Education on Child Survival in Ghana
International Development
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impact, formal, maternal, education, child, survival, ghana
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Samuel Laari (Author), 2016, The Impact of Formal Maternal Education on Child Survival in Ghana, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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