Date Published: April 13, 2010
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Julie Knoll Rajaratnam, Linda N. Tran, Alan D. Lopez, Christopher J. L. Murray, Kenneth Hill
Partial Text: Over the past few decades, and particularly since the World Summit for Children in 1990 , there has been growing interest in measuring child mortality, both as a health indicator and, increasingly, as a fundamental measure of human development . This interest has brought renewed attention to the challenge of improving child survival, including a focus on understanding why some countries are making progress and others are not –. Some authors have suggested that declines in child mortality can be at least partially attributed to the improved measurement of child mortality, which facilitates the benchmarking of progress with intervention strategies and ensures a measure of accountability . Increased policy discussion of investment in child health is leading to calls for more timely and more local measurements of child mortality . Nonetheless, despite considerable efforts, our knowledge of trends in child mortality over recent periods, where the impact of intervention strategies is of most interest for policy makers, is weak for many low-income countries .
Using available empirical datasets, we developed new methods for analyzing survey information on children ever born and children who have died to estimate child mortality for periods immediately before the survey or census. We validated our methods both internally using direct estimates from complete birth histories, and externally with an out-of-sample prediction analysis. We also incorporated uncertainty estimation to improve the overall performance of these low-cost methods to reliably measure changes in child mortality levels.