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Improving program targeting to combat early-life mortality by identifying high-risk births: an application to India.

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:It is widely recognized that there are multiple risk factors for early-life mortality. In practice most interventions to curb early-life mortality target births based on a single risk factor, such as poverty. However, most premature deaths are not from the targeted group. Thus interventions target many births that are at not at high risk and miss many births at high risk. METHODS:Using data from the second wave of Demographic and Health Surveys from India and a hierarchical Bayesian model, we estimate infant mortality risk for 73.320 infants in India as a function of 4 risk factors. We show how this information can be used to improve program targeting. We compare our novel approach against common programs that target groups based on a single risk factor. RESULTS:A conventional approach that targets mothers in the lowest quintile of income correctly identifies only 30% of infant deaths. By contrast, using four risk factors simultaneously we identify a group of births of the same size that includes 57% of all deaths. Using the 2012 census to translate these percentages into numbers, there were 25.642.200 births in 2012 and 4.4% died before the age of one. Our approach correctly identifies 643.106 of 1.128.257 infant deaths while poverty only identifies 338.477 infant deaths. CONCLUSION:Our approach considerably improves program targeting by identifying more infant deaths than the usual approach that targets births based on a single risk factor. This leads to more efficient program targeting. This is particularly useful in developing countries, where resources are lacking and needs are high.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6108144 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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