A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of short birth interval on infant mortality in Ethiopia

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Introduction Even though Ethiopia has been celebrating the achievements of MDG 4, still one in every 17 Ethiopian children dies before their first birthday. This is the biggest of the African regional average. Short birth interval is inconsistently reported as a risk factor by limited and independent studies in Ethiopia. Therefore, the purpose of this meta-analysis was to determine the pooled effect size of the preceding birth interval length on infant mortality. Methods Studies were accessed through the electronic web-based search mechanism from PUBMED, Advanced Google Scholar, WHO databases and journals: PLOS ONE, and BMC, using independent and combinations of key terms. Comprehensive meta-analysis version 2 was used to analyze the data. An I2 test was used to assess heterogeneity. Funnel plot and statistical significance by Egger's test of the intercept was used to check publication bias. The final estimate was determined in the form of odds ratio by applying Duval and Tweedie's trim and fill analysis in the Random-effects model. Results 872 studies were identified on the reviewed topic. During screening, forty-five studies were found to be relevant for data abstraction. However, only five studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. In all of the studies included in the analysis, the preceding birth interval had a significant association with under-one mortality. The final pooled estimate in the form of the odds ratio for infant mortality with a preceding birth interval of less than 24 months was found to be 2.03 (95% CI: 1.52, 2.70, random effect (five studies, n=43,909), I2 =70%, P<0.05). Conclusion In Ethiopia, promoting the length of birth interval to at least two years lowered under-one mortality by 50% (95% CI: 35%, 63%).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0126759
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


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