The Determinants of an Infant’s Weight at Birth in Uganda
MetadataShow full item record
World Health Organization (WHO) estimates almost 30 million low weight births annually (23.4% of all births), which often face short and long term health consequences. While the global prevalence of small sized births has slightly declined, the rates in many developing countries are still quite high (30 percent). Birth size, especially birth weight is a good indicator of the newborn’s chances of survival, growth, long term health and psychosocial development. LBW babies are significantly at risk of death thus contributing to the high perinatal morbidity and mortality in developing countries (WHO, 2014). This study analyses the factors that influence the weight of a child at birth specifically in Uganda. These factors include age of the mother, marital status, wealth status, residence, access to antenatal care, education level, type of birth, order of birth and smoking. The 2016 Uganda Demographic Health Survey dataset (UDHS) was used from which the dependent variable (birth weight) was computed from birth size. Weight above 2.5kg was considered heavy, below 2.5kg was considered low whereas 2.5kg was considered as average weight. From the study, smoking had no association with birth weight. This is because very few people do smoke. Actually, the majority were non- smokers which could have resulted from acquired knowledge by the people on the dangers of smoking and the threats to their lives. Other factors such as marital status, wealth status, access to antenatal care, education level, type of birth, mother’s age and order of birth all had significant relationships with birth weight on which they had an effect. A participatory approach should be adopted in policy formulation, implementation and evaluation concerning maternal aspects. Women should be involved as they provide the best experiences on the various conditions like pregnancy complications thus boosting the success of these policies. The policies should also be proactive and therefore should act ahead of the anticipated health complications affecting the mothers. Emphasis also should be put on increasing accessibility and availability of health facilities, increasing women’s awareness and knowledge on the advantages of antenatal care. Efforts are also needed to extend educational programs, especially in the rural areas where mothers are not highly educated, aimed at educating mothers on the benefits of prenatal care, mother’s nutrition during pregnancy, attendance to antenatal care, together with programs encouraging girl child education to improve their decision making powers and minimize teenage pregnancies and births.