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Trop Med Int Health. 1996 Jun;1(3):283-94.

Potential interventions for preventing pneumonia among young children in developing countries: promoting maternal education.

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Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague.


The views of various disciplines on the role of education in improving the health and survival of young children in developing countries are discussed, as well as the factors and processes explaining this impact of education and the influence which education could have on risk factors especially relevant to acute respiratory infections (ARI) and pneumonia. This is by reviews of the available evidence on the impact of maternal education on mortality and morbidity. Since there are hardly any data dealing with the impact of education on pneumonia mortality, we focus on post-neonatal mortality, assuming that it is a suitable proxy for pneumonia mortality. Evidence is summarized on several processes or mechanisms which could explain why there is such an impact of education on ARI mortality (and morbidity) in children below 5. An attempt is made to quantify the reduction in pneumonia mortality which has occurred during the past 10-15 years as a result of improvement in women's education. This will also give an indication of the magnitude of the potential benefits of education for health and survival in the years ahead. Throughout this report we define maternal education as the regular schooling received by women during their youth. Some may have followed additional adult education classes before they became mothers.

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