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Open Access Research article

Understanding socio-economic determinants of childhood mortality: a retrospective analysis in Uganda

Fred Nuwaha1*, Juliet Babirye1, Olico Okui1 and Natal Ayiga2

Author Affiliations

1 Makerere University School of Public Health, P.O. Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda

2 Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:484  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-484

Published: 9 November 2011



Teso sub-region of Eastern Uganda had superior indices of childhood survival during the period 1959 to 1969 compared to the national average. We analysed the reasons that could explain this situation with a view of suggesting strategies for reducing childhood mortality.


We compared the childhood mortalities and their average annual reduction rate (AARR) of Teso sub-region with those of Uganda for the period 1959 to 1969. We also compared indicators of social economic well being (such as livestock per capita and per capita intake of protein/energy). In addition data was compared on other important determinants of child survival such as level of education and rate of urbanisation.


In 1969 the infant mortality rate (IMR) for Teso was 94 per 1000 live births compared to the 120 for Uganda. Between 1959 and 1969 the AARR for IMR for Teso was 4.57% compared to 3% for Uganda. It was interesting that the AARR for Teso was higher than that that of 4.4.% required to achieve millennium development goal number four (MDG4). The rate of urbanisation and the level of education were higher in Uganda compared to Teso during the same period. Teso had a per capita ownership of cattle of 1.12 compared to Uganda's 0.44. Teso sub region had about 3 times the amount of protein and about 2 times the amount of calories compared to Uganda.


We surmise that higher ownership of cattle and growing of high protein and energy foods might have been responsible for better childhood survival in Teso compared to Uganda.