Exploring Factors Associated with Completeness of Parental Survival Data in a Longitudinal Surveillance System in Rural South Africa
Gabriela Mejia-Pailles, University of Southampton
Victoria Hosegood, University of Southampton
During the recent two decades, rural communities in South Africa have experienced a rapid and severe HIV epidemic. The consequences of premature mortality of young adults have reported high orphaning rates. The most widely used parental survival data is that available from cross-sectional sources. However, in communities where many children are not co-resident with living parents, there are many reasons to anticipate that intentional and unintentional misreporting in cross-sectional surveys may bias the accuracy of orphanhood estimates. In this paper, we examine the consistency of parental survival status over time using longitudinal data from a demographic surveillance system (DSS) in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to explore some of the main factors associated with completeness of parental survival status and propose a series of alternative methodological approaches to deal with the issues. We conclude that DSS are valuable sources of information on parental survival, where (in)consistencies can be more carefully interrogated.