Journal Article

Spatial Patterns of Infant Mortality in Mali: The Effect of Malaria Endemicity

A. Gemperli, P. Vounatsou, I. Kleinschmidt, M. Bagayoko, C. Lengeler and T. Smith

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 159, issue 1, pages 64-72
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwh001
Spatial Patterns of Infant Mortality in Mali: The Effect of Malaria Endemicity

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A spatial analysis was carried out to identify factors related to geographic differences in infant mortality risk in Mali by linking data from two spatially structured databases: the Demographic and Health Surveys of 1995–1996 and the Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa database for Mali. Socioeconomic factors measured directly at the individual level and site-specific malaria prevalence predicted for the Demographic and Health Surveys’ locations by a spatial model fitted to the Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa database were examined as possible risk factors. The analysis was carried out by fitting a Bayesian hierarchical geostatistical logistic model to infant mortality risk, by Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation. It confirmed that mother’s education, birth order and interval, infant’s sex, residence, and mother’s age at infant’s birth had a strong impact on infant mortality risk in Mali. The residual spatial pattern of infant mortality showed a clear relation to well-known foci of malaria transmission, especially the inland delta of the Niger River. No effect of estimated parasite prevalence could be demonstrated. Possible explanations include confounding by unmeasured covariates and sparsity of the source malaria data. Spatial statistical models of malaria prevalence are useful for indicating approximate levels of endemicity over wide areas and, hence, for guiding intervention strategies. However, at points very remote from those sampled, it is important to consider prediction error.

Keywords: infant mortality; malaria; models, statistical; spatial analysis; variogram; Abbreviations: DHS, Demographic and Health Surveys; MARA, Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa; OR, odds ratio.

Journal Article.  5335 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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