Trends in inequalities in child stunting in South Asia.
ABSTRACT: We analysed socio-economic inequalities in stunting in South Asia and investigated disparities associated with factors at the individual, caregiver, and household levels (poor dietary diversity, low maternal education, and household poverty). We used time-series analysis of data from 55,459 children ages 6-23 months from Demographic and Health Surveys in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan (1991-2014). Logistic regression models, adjusted for age, sex, birth order, and place of residency, examined associations between stunting and multiple types of socio-economic disadvantage. All countries had high stunting rates. Bangladesh and Nepal recorded the largest reductions-2.9 and 4.1 percentage points per year, respectively-compared to 1.3 and 0.6 percentage points in India and Pakistan, respectively. Socio-economic adversity was associated with increased risk of stunting, regardless of disadvantage type. Poor children with inadequate diets and with poorly educated mothers experienced greater risk of stunting. Although stunting rates declined in the most deprived groups, socio-economic differences were largely preserved over time and in some cases worsened, namely, between wealth quintiles. The disproportionate burden of stunting experienced by the most disadvantaged children and the worsening inequalities between socio-economic groups are of concern in countries with substantial stunting burdens. Closing the gap between best and worst performing countries, and between most and least disadvantaged groups within countries, would yield substantial improvements in stunting rates in South Asia. To do so, greater attention needs to be paid to addressing the social, economic, and political drivers of stunting with targeted efforts towards the populations experiencing the greatest disadvantage and child growth faltering.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Much is known about national trends in child undernutrition, but there is little information on how socio-economic inequalities are evolving over time. We aimed to assess socio-economic inequalities in stunting prevalence over time. DESIGN:We selected nationally representative surveys carried out since the mid-1990s for which information was available on asset indices and on child anthropometry. We identified twenty-five countries that had at least two surveys over an interval of 10 years or more, totalling eighty-seven surveys. Stunting prevalence was calculated according to wealth quintiles. Absolute and relative inequalities were calculated and time trends were obtained by regression. Setting Nationally representative household surveys from twenty-five low- and middle-income countries. SUBJECTS:Children <5 years of age. RESULTS:National prevalence declined significantly in twenty-two of the twenty-five countries. In eighteen out of twenty-five countries, relative reductions were higher among the rich than among the poor. Overall, there was no indication that inequalities improved. Striking examples are Nepal, with a 17·0 percentage points decline in stunting per decade, but where inequalities increased sharply; and Brazil, where stunting fell by 6·7 percentage points and inequalities were all but eliminated. CONCLUSIONS:Global progress in reducing stunting has not been accompanied by improved equity, but countries varied markedly in how successful they were in reducing prevalence among the poorest children. It is important to document how some countries were able to reduce inequalities, so that these lessons can be used to foster global progress, particularly in light of the increased importance of within-country inequalities in the post-2015 agenda.
Project description:Several developing countries like Pakistan step into Sustainable Development Goals period with crucial maternal and child health needs that need to be addressed for improving health outcomes among people. We aim to explore existent socio-economic disparities in use of family planning methods (FPM) among Pakistani women, and compare any such inequalities between the years 2006 and 2013.Pakistan Demographic and Health Surveys (PDHS) 2006-7 (n = 9177) and the most recent 2012-13(n = 13558) data were used to conduct secondary analysis. Participants were ever married women aged between 15 and 49 years. Socio-economic status was assessed by the education level and wealth index. Inequalities were measured through Odds Ratio (OR), Relative Index of inequality (RII), and Slope index of inequality (SII) on non-use of FPM.Although the prevalence of FPM use has increased over time (28% in 2006 versus 54% in 2013), the socio-economic inequalities persistently exist. Comparing results of PDHS 2006 with PDHS 2013, education related absolute inequalities among urban dwellers increased from -0.41 (95% CI -0.67, -0.13, p-value < 0.01) to -0.83 (95% CI -1.02, -0.63, p-value < 0.01); and increased from -0.93 (95% CI -1.21, -0.64, p-value < 0.01) to -0.98 (95% CI -1.20, -0.76, p-value < 0.01) among rural dwellers. Similarly wealth related absolute inequalities are also existent.Although the FPM use has increased over time, but it is important to note that socio-economic gap in use of FPM persists. Such differences have disadvantaged the poor and the illiterate. Family planning programs may target the disadvantaged subgroups for ensuring well-being of women and children in Pakistan.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:We aimed to investigate the socioeconomic inequalities in the burden of underweight and overweight among children in South Asia. We also examined other factors that were associated with these outcomes independently of household's socioeconomic status. DESIGN:Nationally-representative surveys. SETTINGS:Demographic and Health Surveys from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Maldives and Nepal, which were conducted between 2009 and 2016. PARTICIPANTS:Children aged 24 to 59 months with valid measurement for height and weight (n=146?996). PRIMARY EXPOSURE AND OUTCOME MEASURES:Primary exposures were household's wealth index and level of education. Underweight and overweight were defined according to the WHO and International Obesity Task Force definitions, respectively. RESULTS:Underweight prevalence was 37% in Bangladesh, 38% in India, 19% in Maldives, 29% in Nepal and 28% in Pakistan. Bangladesh, India and Nepal had similar overweight prevalence (between 2% and 4%) whereas Pakistan (7%) and Maldives (9%) had higher prevalence. Households with higher wealth index or education had lower odds of having underweight children. Adjusted ORs of underweight for richest versus poorest households were 0.4 (95% CI: 0.3 to 0.5), 0.5 (95% CI: 0.5 to 0.6), 0.5 (95% CI: 0.2 to 1.4), 0.5 (95% CI: 0.3 to 0.8) and 0.7 (95% CI: 0.5 to 1.1) for Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan, respectively. Compared with poorest households, richest households were more likely to have overweight children in all countries except Pakistan, but such associations were not significant after adjustment for other factors. There were higher odds of having overweight children in households with higher education in Bangladesh (OR 2.1 (95% CI: 1.3 to 3.5)), India (OR 1.2 (95% CI: 1.2 to 1.3)) and Pakistan (OR 1.8 (95% CI: 1.1 to 2.9)) when compared with households with no education. Maternal nutritional status was consistently associated with children's nutritional outcomes after adjustments for socioeconomic status. CONCLUSIONS:Our study provides evidence for socioeconomic inequalities for childhood underweight and overweight in South Asian countries, although the directions of associations for underweight and overweight might be different.
Project description:Despite overall improvements in cancer survival due to earlier diagnosis and better treatment, socio-economically disadvantaged people have lower cancer survival than more advantaged people. We aimed to examine differences in cancer survival by area-level socio-economic disadvantage in Victoria, Australia and assess whether these inequalities varied by year of diagnosis, age at diagnosis, time since diagnosis and sex. Cases diagnosed with a first primary cancer in 2001-2015 were identified using the Victorian Cancer Registry and followed to the end of 2016. Five-year net survival and the excess risk of death due to a cancer diagnosis were estimated. People living in more disadvantaged areas had lower five-year survival than residents of less disadvantaged regions for 21 of 29 cancer types: head and neck, oesophagus, stomach, colorectum, anus/anal canal, liver, gallbladder/biliary tract, pancreas, lung, melanoma, connective/soft tissue, female breast, ovary, prostate, kidney, bladder, brain and central nervous system, unknown primary, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma and leukemia. The observed lower survival in more deprived regions persisted over time, except head and neck cancer, for which the gap in survival has widened. Socio-economic inequalities in survival decreased with increasing age at diagnosis for cancers of connective/soft tissue, bladder and unknown primary. For colorectal cancer, the observed survival disadvantage in lower socio-economic regions was greater for men than for women, while for brain and central nervous system tumours, it was larger for women. Cancer survival is generally lower for residents of more socio-economically disadvantaged areas. Identifying the underlying reasons for these inequalities is important and may help to identify effective interventions to increase survival for underprivileged cancer patients.
Project description:Achieving universal health coverage is one of the key targets in the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.To investigate progress toward universal health coverage in 5 South Asian countries and assess inequalities in health services and financial risk protection indicators.In a population-based study, nationally representative household (335?373 households) survey data from Afghanistan (2014 and 2015), Bangladesh (2010 and 2014), India (2012 and 2014), Nepal (2014 and 2015), and Pakistan (2014) were used to calculate relative indices of health coverage, financial risk protection, and inequality in coverage among wealth quintiles. The study was conducted from June 2012 to February 2016.Three dimensions of universal health coverage were assessed: access to basic services, financial risk protection, and equity. Composite and indicator-specific coverage rates, stratified by wealth quintiles, were then estimated. Slope and relative index of inequality were used to assess inequalities in service and financial indicators.Access to basic care varied substantially across all South Asian countries, with mean rates of overall prevention coverage and treatment coverage of 53.0% (95% CI, 42.2%-63.6%) and 51.2% (95% CI, 45.2%-57.1%) in Afghanistan, 76.5% (95% CI, 61.0%-89.0%) and 44.8% (95% CI, 37.1%-52.5%) in Bangladesh, 74.2% (95% CI, 57.0%-88.1%) and 83.5% (95% CI, 54.4%-99.1%) in India, 76.8% (95% CI, 66.5%-85.7%) and 57.8% (95% CI, 50.1%-65.4%) in Nepal, and 69.8% (95% CI, 58.3%-80.2%) and 50.4% (95% CI, 37.1%-63.6%) in Pakistan. Financial risk protection was generally low, with 15.3% (95% CI, 14.7%-16.0%) of respondents in Afghanistan, 15.8% (95% CI, 14.9%-16.8%) in Bangladesh, 17.9% (95% CI, 17.7%-18.2%) in India, 11.8% (95% CI, 11.8%-11.9%) in Nepal, and 4.4% (95% CI, 4.0%-4.9%) in Pakistan reporting incurred catastrophic payments due to health care costs. Access to at least 4 antenatal care visits, institutional delivery, and presence of skilled attendant during delivery were at least 3 times higher among the wealthiest mothers in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan compared with the rates among poor mothers. Access to institutional delivery was 60 to 65 percentage points higher among wealthy than poor mothers in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan compared with 21 percentage points higher in India. Coverage was least equitable among the countries for adequate sanitation, institutional delivery, and the presence of skilled birth attendants.Health coverage and financial risk protection was low, and inequality in access to health care remains a serious issue for these South Asian countries. Greater progress is needed to improve treatment and preventive services and financial security.
Project description:Stunting in children less than five years of age is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to: (i) evaluate how the prevalence of stunting has changed by socio-economic status and rural/urban residence, and (ii) assess inequalities in children's diet quality and access to maternal and child health care. We used data from nationally representative demographic and health- and multiple indicator cluster-surveys (DHS and MICS) to disaggregate the stunting prevalence by wealth quintile and rural/urban residence. The composite coverage index (CCI) reflecting weighed coverage of eight preventive and curative Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (RMNCH) interventions was used as a proxy for access to health care, and Minimum Dietary Diversity Score (MDDS) was used as a proxy for child diet quality. Stunting significantly decreased over the past decade, and reductions were faster for the most disadvantaged groups (rural and poorest wealth quintile), but in only 50% of the countries studied. Progress in reducing stunting has not been accompanied by improved equity as inequalities in MDDS (p < 0.01) and CCI (p < 0.001) persist by wealth quintile and rural-urban residence. Aligning food- and health-systems' interventions is needed to accelerate stunting reduction more equitably.
Project description:Stunting (length-for-age z score < -2) before 2 years of age has shown associations with poor child developmental indicators, but information at the population level is scarce in South Asia, the region with the highest burden of stunting. We examined associations between z scores (i.e., height for age [HAZ], weight for age [WAZ], and weight for height [WHZ]) and undernutrition (i.e., stunting [HAZ < -2], wasting [WHZ < -2], and underweight [WAZ < -2]) with learning/cognition and social-emotional development among children 36-59 months of age. Data from Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys in Bangladesh (n = 8,659), Bhutan (n = 2,038), Nepal (n = 2,253), and Pakistan (Punjab n = 11,369 and Sindh n = 6,718) were used. Children were considered developmentally "on-track" in learning/cognition or social-emotional domains if they met specific early child development criteria. Meta-analysis was conducted to examine regional associations, adjusting for socio-economic status, early childhood education, and quality of care. In a pooled sample, on-track learning/cognition development was positively associated with HAZ (OR = 1.17, 95% CI [1.07, 1.27]) and WAZ (OR = 1.18, 95% CI [1.07, 1.31]) and negatively associated with stunting (OR = 0.72, 95% CI [0.60, 0.86]) and underweight (OR = 0.75, 95% CI [0.66, 0.86]) but not associated with WHZ or wasting. On-track development of social-emotional domain was not associated with any z scores or undernutrition indicators. Across several countries of South Asia, stunted children were less likely to be developmentally "on track" for learning/cognition. It is likely that interventions that prevent stunting may benefit child development, leading to significant individual and societal gains given the large burden of child stunting in regions like South Asia.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: The socio-economic circumstances and health of people with disabilities has been relatively ignored in public health research, policy and practice in Australia and internationally. This is despite emerging evidence that the socio-economic circumstances that people with disabilities live in contributes to their poorer health. Compared to other developed countries, Australians with disabilities are more likely to live in disadvantaged circumstances, despite being an economically prosperous country; it is therefore likely that the socio-economic disadvantage experienced by Australians with disabilities makes a significant contribution to their health. Despite the importance of this issue Australia does not routinely monitor the socio-economic inequalities for people with disabilities. This paper addresses this gap by describing time trends in socio-economic conditions for Australians with and without disabilities according to the severity of the disability and sex. METHODS: Cross-sectional analyses of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers were carried out at three time points (1998, 2003 and 2009) to estimate the proportions of women and men (aged between 25 and 64 years) who were living on low incomes, had not completed year 12, were not in paid work, living in private rental and experiencing multiple disadvantage (three or more of the indicators). RESULTS: People with disabilities are less likely to have completed year 12, be in paid work and are more likely to be living on low incomes and experiencing multiple disadvantage. These conditions worsened with increasing severity of disability and increased or persisted over time, with most of the increase between 1998 and 2003. While women with milder disabilities tended to fare worse than men, the proportions were similar for those with moderate and severe/profound disabilities. CONCLUSION: People with disabilities experience high levels of socio-economic disadvantage which has increased or persisted over time and these are likely to translate into poorer health outcomes. A large proportion experience multiple forms of disadvantage, reinforcing the need to tackle disadvantage in a coordinated way across sectors.People with disabilities should be a priority population group for public health. Monitoring socio-economic conditions of people with disabilities is critical for informing policy and assessing the impact of disability reforms.
Project description:In Bangladesh, India and Nepal, neonatal outcomes of poor infants are considerably worse than those of better-off infants. Understanding how these inequalities vary by country and place of delivery (home or facility) will allow targeting of interventions to those who need them most. We describe socio-economic inequalities in newborn care in rural areas of Bangladesh, Nepal and India for all deliveries and by place of delivery.We used data from surveillance sites in Bangladesh, India and from Makwanpur and Dhanusha districts in Nepal, covering periods from 2001 to 2011. We used literacy (ability to read a short text) as indicator of socioeconomic status. We developed a composite score of nine newborn care practices (score range 0-9 indicating infants received no newborn care to all nine newborn care practices). We modeled the effect of literacy and place of delivery on the newborn care score and on individual practices.In all study sites (60,078 deliveries in total), use of facility delivery was higher among literate mothers. In all sites, inequalities in newborn care were observed: the difference in new born care between literate and illiterate ranged 0.35-0.80. The effect of literacy on the newborn care score reduced after adjusting for place of delivery (range score difference literate-illiterate: 0.21-0.43).Socioeconomic inequalities in facility care greatly contribute to inequalities in newborn care. Improving newborn care during home deliveries and improving access to facility care are a priority for addressing inequalities in newborn care and newborn mortality.
Project description:Socioeconomic inequalities in child undernutrition remain one of the main challenges in Bangladesh. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for such inequalities across different population groups. However, no study has examined the relative contribution of different social determinants to the socioeconomic inequality in child undernutrition in Bangladesh. Our objective is to measure the extent of socioeconomic-related inequalities in childhood stunting and identify the key social determinants that potentially explain these inequalities in Bangladesh. We used data for children younger than 5 years of age for this analysis from 2 rounds of Bangladesh Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 2004 and 2014. We examined the socioeconomic inequality in stunting using the concentration curve and concentration index. We then decomposed the concentration index into the contributions of individual social determinants. We found significant inequality in stunting prevalence. The negative concentration index of stunting indicated that stunting was more concentrated among the poor than among the well-off. Our results suggest that inequalities in stunting increased between 2004 and 2014. Household economic status, maternal and paternal education, health-seeking behavior of the mothers, sanitation, fertility, and maternal stature were the major contributors to the disparity in stunting prevalence in Bangladesh. Equity is a critical component of sustainable development goals. Health policymakers should work together across sectors and develop strategies for effective intersectoral actions to adequately address the social determinants of equity and reduce inequalities in stunting and other health outcomes.