Livestock Ownership Among Rural Households and Child Morbidity and Mortality: An Analysis of Demographic Health Survey Data from 30 Sub-Saharan African Countries (2005-2015).


increase in the number of livestock owned by the household and three child-health outcomes: 2-week prevalence of diarrhea, stunting, and all-cause mortality. Results for each country were combined using meta-analyses. Most countries (22 of 30) displayed an odds ratio (OR) less than 1 for child stunting associated with livestock (pooled OR = 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.95, 0.99). The results for diarrhea were more even with 14 countries displaying ORs greater than 1 and 10 displaying ORs less than 1. Most countries (22 of 30) displayed an OR greater than 1 for child mortality (pooled OR = 1.04; 95% CI = 1.02, 1.06). All meta-analyses displayed significant heterogeneity by country. Our analysis is consistent with the theory that livestock may have a dual role as protective against stunting, an indicator of chronic malnutrition, and a risk factor for all-cause mortality in children, which may be linked to acute infections. The heterogeneity by country, however, indicates more data are needed on specific household livestock management practices.

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