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Open Access Research article

Children who were vaccinated, breast fed and from low parity mothers live longer: A community based case-control study in Jimma, Ethiopia

Belaineh Girma1* and Yemane Berhane2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health and Social Science, Addis Continental Institute of Public Health, 26751/1000. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

2 Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Addis Continental Institute of Public Health, 26751/1000. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:197  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-197

Published: 31 March 2011



Improving child survival through various health interventions has been one of the main preoccupations of public health programs in developing nations. However, efforts to understand the child death determinants and determine whether the health interventions are really contributing to the reduction of mortality were not satisfactory. The purpose of this study is to identify determinants and causes of child mortality.


The study was conducted in the town of Jimma, Ethiopia, using a case control study design. Cases were identified through enumeration of all children and deaths prior to interview of the study subjects. Controls were under five children of the same age (+/-2 months) residing in the nearest household. Data was entered into EPI -info 6.4 software and analyzed using SPSS.


Seventy four cases and 222 controls were included in the study. The study found that children who never breast fed [OR = 13.74, 95%CI (3.34, 56.42]] and children with mothers having more than five children [OR = 3.34, 95%CI (1.27, 8.76)] were more likely to die than their counterparts. Vaccination reduced the risk of death [OR=.26, 95%CI (0.10, 0.67) significantly. Pneumonia was the most common immediate cause of death [29.7% (95% CI (19.66, 41.48)] followed by acute diarrhea and malaria each contributing for 23% [95%CI (13.99, 34.21)] of deaths.


Immunization, breastfeeding and low parity mothers were independently found to be protective from childhood death. Strengthening the child survival initiatives, namely universal child immunization, family planning and breast feeding -- is strongly recommended.