A study in Ghana using nationally representative survey data found that children born in an institutional setting had a substantially higher proportion of full vaccination (73.9%) compared to those born at home (60.8%). Children born in a health facility—either public or private—had 1.71 times the odds of receiving a full vaccination schedule compared to children born at home.
A study of sickle cell disease patients in Ghana found that pneumoccocus bacteria found in their noses and throats had high rates of drug resistance with 37% of positive samples resistant to penicillin and 34% resistant to multiple drugs (typically penicillin + tetracycline + cotrimoxazole).
Use of recommended maternal health care services — defined as at least 4 antenatal care visits, having a skilled attendant at birth, and delivery in a health facility — was a predictor of timely vaccination of mothers’ infants in a study conducted in Ghana. Compared to children whose mothers received one or two of these services, infants born to mothers who received all three interventions were roughly 30% more likely to be fully vaccinated by 12-23 months of age, while children whose mothers received none of these services were only about half as likely to be fully vaccinated. Investing in maternal health, which creates familiarity with the health system and increases mothers’ knowledge about disease prevention, can improve the health of both the mother and her children beyond infancy.
Children of divorced mothers in Ghana were three times less likely to be fully immunized than mothers cohabitating with a partner. In addition, it was found that children of mothers who work part time were approximately 2.3 times less likely to be fully immunized than mothers who work full time.
A pooled analysis of nine studies assessing the effects of diarrhea on stunting prior to the age of 24 months showed that the odds of stunting were significantly increased with each diarrheal episode. Each day of diarrhea prior to attaining 24 months of age also contributed to the risk of stunting. For each five episodes of diarrhea, the odds of stunting increased by 13%. In addition, once a child becomes stunted, only 6% of those stunted at 6 months of age recovered by 24 months of age.
A systematic review of studies from countries in Africa and Southeast Asia investigated the relationship between a woman’s “agency” (defined as the woman’s ability to state her goals and to act upon them with motivation and purpose) and childhood immunizations in lower-income settings. The review found a general pattern among studies in which higher agency among mothers was associated with higher odds of childhood immunizations. Empowering women in these settings shows promise as a means to improve child health.
In a recent review of data from developing countries, researchers found that episodes of diarrhea may predispose undernourished children to pneumonia.
Multiple studies show that
- Diarrhea and pneumonia impair children’s growth and that underlying malnutrition is a major risk factor for these conditions.
- “Episodes of diarrhea may predispose to pneumonia in undernourished children” and
- Immunization against influenza (in mothers) and Streptococcus pneumoniae may improve infant growth. In addition, new studies from Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, and Israel further support the paradigm that malnutrition is a key risk factor for diarrhea and pneumonia.
An analysis of the impact of rotavirus vaccine in 25 countries found that the rates of vaccination in all countries were highest and risk mortality lowest in the top two wealth quintile’s coverage. Countries differed in the relative inequities in these two underlying variables. Cost per DALYs averted in substantially greater in the higher quintiles. In all countries, the greatest potential vaccine benefit was in the poorest quintiles; however, reduced vaccination coverage lowered the projected vaccine benefit.
In a systematic literature review of studies in Africa, it was found that 25% of children who survived pneumococcal or Hib meningitis had neuropsychological deficits.