Education, Health Knowledge, and Child Health in Ghana: What Do People Know and How Do They Know It?

Catherine N. Stiff, Brown University

This paper is concerned with child health in Ghana. Specifically, what do people know about the causes of three serious child illnesses--malaria, diarrheal disease, and respiratory infection--and what determines biomedical knowledge? I rely on primary survey data (N=2500) collected in Ghana's Central Region in 2002. In descriptive and bivariate analysis I found, first, that knowledge of etiology of these three illnesses is low. For example, only half of respondents can identify the cause of malaria. Second, I found that men are consistently more knowledgeable about disease etiology than women. In multivariate analysis, however, this differential reverses; when controls are added, men are less likely than women to attribute these three illnesses to contagion or hygiene. As expected, education and literacy are strongly associated with health knowledge. In addition, other individual, household, and community characteristics are influential, particularly media exposure, household SES, and urban residence.

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Presented in Session 165: Child Health in Developing Countries