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Infant mortality and family welfare: policy implications for Indonesia
  1. S Poerwanto1,
  2. M Stevenson1,
  3. N de Klerk2
  1. 1School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2TVW Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mr S Poerwanto, School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia; 


Study objective: To examine the effect of family welfare index (FWI) and maternal education on the probability of infant death.

Design: A population based multistage stratified clustered survey.

Setting: Women of reproductive age in Indonesia between 1983–1997.

Data sources: The 1997 Indonesian Demographic and Health Survey.

Main results: Infant mortality was associated with FWI and maternal education. Relative to families of high FWI, the risk of infant death was almost twice among families of low FWI (aOR=1.7, 95%CI=0.9 to 3.3), and three times for families of medium FWI (aOR=3.3 ,95%CI=1.7 to 6.5). Also, the risk of infant death was threefold higher (aOR=3.4, 95% CI=1.6 to 7.1) among mothers who had fewer than seven years of formal education compared with mothers with more than seven years of education. Fertility related indicators such as young maternal age, absence from contraception, birth intervals, and prenatal care, seem to exert significant effect on the increased probability of infant death.

Conclusions: The increased probability of infant mortality attributable to family income inequality and low maternal education seems to work through pathways of material deprivation and chronic psychological stress that affect a person’s health damaging behaviours. The policies that are likely to significantly reduce the family’s socioeconomic inequality in infant mortality are implicated.

  • infant mortality rate
  • socioeconomic inequality
  • family welfare status
  • IMR, infant mortality rate
  • FWI, family welfare index
  • PSU, Primary Sampling Unit

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