World Health & Population

World Health & Population November 2003 .doi:10.12927/whp.2003.17628

Interaction Effects of Maternal Education and Household Facilities on Childhood Diarrhea in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Ghana

Stephen Obeng Gyimah


Diarrhea is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity among children in sub-Saharan Africa. While a good living environment, comprising safe water and toilet facilities, is essential in reducing the risk, it is unclear if the disadvantages associated with untreated water and lack of toilet facilities are the same for all children. Since diarrhea is transmitted through a variety of agents, we argue that other parentally provided inputs combine with water and toilet facilities in determining a child's vulnerability. Using population-based data from the 1998 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, this paper assesses whether toilet and drinking water facilities provide different protection to children of literate mothers compared with those of illiterate mothers. The results suggest that children whose mothers were less educated were the most vulnerable to diarrhea in the absence of water and toilet facilities. The policy implications of the findings are discussed.

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