MATERNAL EDUCATION AND CHILDHOOD MALARIA: EVIDENCE FROM THE 2010 ZAMBIA NATIONAL MALARIA INDICATOR SURVEY
Norton, Samuel Winfield
The effects of malaria on education in the developing world are already well-documented: as a child contracts the disease, school absenteeism increases, the child falls behind and thus becomes more likely to drop out at an early age. This we know. What we don't know is the opposite effect: the role of education on malaria. Of particular interest, due to the relative risk of certain groups to malaria, are the effects of mother's education on their children's likelihood of contracting malaria. In theory, a number of mechanisms could link low maternal education to a higher risk of malaria: poorer understanding of the disease's transmission, less ability to allocate resources within the household in order to prevent childhood malaria, higher likelihood to resort to traditional remedies and healers for prevention and cure, and a relative malaise regarding malaria are all potential explanations. Using data from the 2010 Zambia Malaria Indicator Survey, I test the effect of maternal education - measured in terms of highest school grade completed - on utilization of bed nets and malaria blood slide results. The results of these tests suggest that a mother's education has a strong effect on the risk of her child contracting malaria, even when controlling for factors such as wealth and living in a rural area.
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