Maternal chronic ill health negatively affects child survival in a poor rural population of Pakistan

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Pakistan ranks fourth globally in terms of absolute numbers of under-5 deaths. Although several determinants of child deaths have been identified, the possibility of an association between mother's health and under-5 deaths has not been assessed in Pakistan. We compared data on 106 deceased children 0-59 months old with those on 3718 live children, using a cross-sectional survey of 2276 households among 99 randomly selected villages in Thatta, a rural district of Pakistan. We examined the association between self-reported maternal health status and under-5 deaths, using the SUDAAN statistical package to account for cluster sampling technique. Three models for logistic regression analysis were Model-1: demographic factors, Model-2: household socio-economic factors and Model-3: demographic and household socio-economic factors. Mothers of deceased children were 60% more likely to report chronic illnesses than mothers of live children after controlling for child's age, mother's age and type of house (final Model-3 analysis) (adjusted odds ratio [aOR; 95% confidence interval]: 1.6 [1.01, 2.5]). The association of self-reported maternal ill health with under-5 deaths in Thatta suggests the role of maternal health in child survival. Child survival strategies should include screening and treating mothers for common chronic illnesses. This is particularly important in a setting where only a quarter of chronically ill mothers seek care outside the home.

Publication (Name of Journal)

World Health and Population