Public Health Expenditure and Child Mortality in Southern Africa
The purpose of this study was to empirically assess the effect of public health expenditure on child mortality in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
This study used the panel data for the period 2000-2013 for 98 developing countries including 15 SADC countries, extracted from the World Development Indicators database. A dynamic panel data model of child mortality was estimated using the Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) technique.
Results showed that public health expenditure has a statistically significant effect on reducing the infant and under-five mortality rates, which were mostly facilitated in the SADC region. Improvements in water source and female literacy also statistically significantly contributed to prevent deaths of infants and under-five children, whereas GDP per capita and immunization did not. HIV prevalence was found a significant adverse factor to cause child mortality.
Findings of this study guided public health policy-makers to enhance public spending on health, to improve water and sanitation infrastructure, to ensure better access to education among female, and to intensify interventions on HIV/AIDS, which combined will be effective to improve mortality outcomes among infants and children.
Unlike previous studies, this study explored the regional heterogeneity across the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) sub-regions. It is one of the first to discover that public health expenditure has a varying effect on child mortality across developing regions, and that the SADC region, not other developing communities, experienced the positive effect of public health expenditure.
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