by Chandan Kumar, Prashant Kumar Singh, Rajesh Kumar Rai
This paper examines if, when controlling for biophysical and geographical variables (including rainfall, productivity of agricultural lands, topography/temperature, and market access through road networks), socioeconomic and health care indicators help to explain variations in the under-five mortality rate across districts from nine high focus states in India. The literature on this subject is inconclusive because the survey data, upon which most studies of child mortality rely, rarely include variables that measure these factors. This paper introduces these variables into an analysis of 284 districts from nine high focus states in India. Methodology/Principal Findings
Information on the mortality indicator was accessed from the recently conducted Annual Health Survey of 2011 and other socioeconomic and geographic variables from Census 2011, District Level Household and Facility Survey (2007–08), Department of Economics and Statistics Divisions of the concerned states. Displaying high spatial dependence (spatial autocorrelation) in the mortality indicator (outcome variable) and its possible predictors used in the analysis, the paper uses the Spatial-Error Model in an effort to negate or reduce the spatial dependence in model parameters. The results evince that the coverage gap index (a mixed indicator of district wise coverage of reproductive and child health services), female literacy, urbanization, economic status, the number of newborn care provided in Primary Health Centers in the district transpired as significant correlates of under-five mortality in the nine high focus states in India. The study identifies three clusters with high under-five mortality rate including 30 districts, and advocates urgent attention. Conclusion
Even after controlling the possible biophysical and geographical variables, the study reveals that the health program initiatives have a major role to play in reducing under-five mortality rate in the high focus states in India.