Determinants of survival of infants born to adolescent mothers in Uganda
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The infant mortality rate among children born to adolescent mothers in Uganda remains high in spite of interventions to improve survival of infants and children. This study investigated the determinants of survival of infants born to adolescent mothers by specifically analyzing the role of child, maternal and socioeconomic characteristics. This study utilized secondary data sourced from the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey of 2016. Data were analyzed using STATA statistical software. Descriptive analysis of study sample was done using frequency distributions. The log-rank test was used to measure the associations since all the variables were categorical. At the multivariable level, the Cox proportional hazard model was used to assess the factors associated with the survival of infants born to adolescent mothers. Results of the analysis done on the sample of 971 adolescent mothers showed that 6.7% of the mothers said that their child had died during infancy. The results indicate increased survival of infants who were not born in a healthcare facility (HR=0.827, 95% CI=0.717-0.953); infants whose mothers reported that they had been vaccinated (HR=0.756, 95% CI=0.591-0.967) and first order infants (HR=0.858, 95%=0.740-0.993). On the other hand, the study found reduced survival among female infants (HR=1.110, 95% CI=1.004-1.227) compared to their male counterparts. The results also reveal a significant association between the mother’s age and survival of infants (HR=0.931, 95% CI=0.733-0.969). The key factors associated with infant survival were; place of delivery, being vaccinated, being female, birth order and maternal age. There is need to strengthen efforts to reduce infant deaths by integrating the post-delivery interventions to improve infant survival in campaigns that target increasing healthcare facility deliveries. Safe motherhood interventions and programs need to enhance gender equality even among infants so as to reduce the female infant survival disadvantage. The study also recommends that adolescents should be exclusively targeted by family planning programmes with messages and information to prevent unwanted pregnancies and mistimed pregnancies that may lead to higher order births during adolescence.