Health Effects of Single Motherhood on Children in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lorretta Favour C. Ntoimo, Federal University Oye-Ekiti

Although the population of single mothers is increasing in sub-Saharan Africa, little is known in the region about the influence of single motherhood on child nutritional status and survival. Drawing on the economic resource, parental care, dilution, and household production of health models, this study examined the effects of single motherhood on under-5 mortality and stunting. Data were obtained from a nationally representative sample of women aged 15-49 years drawn from Demographic and Health Surveys in Nigeria (2008), Cameroon (2011) and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Multivariate analysis reveal that compared with two-parent households, children of single mothers who were not widows were more likely to be stunted in Cameroon and DRC. Relative to intact homes, the risk of under-5 mortality in single mother families was higher in the three countries. There is the need for public health interventions targeted at single mother households in sub-Saharan Africa.

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 Presented in Session P7. Health and Mortality of Women, Children and Families