Volume 8 - Article 9 | Pages 261–278

Does biological relatedness affect child survival?

By David Bishai, El Daw Suliman, Heena Brahmbhatt, Fred Wabwire-Mangen, Godfrey Kigozi, Nelson Sewankambo, David Serwadda, Maria Wawer, Ron Gray

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Date received:04 Oct 2002
Date published:07 May 2003
Word count:3198
Keywords:child survival, fostering, HIV/AIDS, orphans, Uganda


Objective: We studied child survival in Rakai, Uganda where many children are fostered out or orphaned.
Methods: Biological relatedness is measured as the average of the Wright’s coefficients between each household member and the child. Instrumental variables for fostering include proportion of adult males in household, age and gender of household head. Control variables include SES, religion, polygyny, household size, child age, child birth size, and child HIV status.
Results: Presence of both parents in the household increased the odds of survival by 28%. After controlling for the endogeneity of child placement decisions in a multivariate model we found that lower biological relatedness of a child was associated with statistically significant reductions in child survival. The effects of biological relatedness on child survival tend to be stronger for both HIV- and HIV+ children of HIV+ mothers.
Conclusions: Reductions in the numbers of close relatives caring for children of HIV+ mothers reduce child survival.

Author's Affiliation

David Bishai - Johns Hopkins University, United States of America [Email]
El Daw Suliman - Johns Hopkins University, United States of America [Email]
Heena Brahmbhatt - Johns Hopkins University, United States of America [Email]
Fred Wabwire-Mangen - Makerere University, Uganda [Email]
Godfrey Kigozi - Makerere University, Uganda [Email]
Nelson Sewankambo - Makerere University, Uganda [Email]
David Serwadda - Makerere University, Uganda [Email]
Maria Wawer - Johns Hopkins University, United States of America [Email]
Ron Gray - Johns Hopkins University, United States of America [Email]

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