Maternal Literacy and Numeracy Skills and Child Health in Ghana

Niels-Hugo Blunch, World Bank Group and George Washington University

This paper examines the impact of maternal literacy, numeracy and schooling on the production of children's health in Ghana. The analysis considers intermediate outcomes including pre- and post-natal care and vaccinations, and final outcomes, including illnesses and mortality. Previous studies of the determinants of child health have mostly been limited to investigating the impact of maternal schooling only and, as a consequence, largely have not considered skills and also have ignored alternative routes to acquiring skills, such as adult literacy programs. Analyzing a recent household survey for Ghana, this paper addresses both of these issues. To address endogeneity, the skills, schooling and child health demand equations are estimated jointly using the Mroz-Guilkey correction (Mroz and Guilkey, 1992). Preliminary results indicate statistically significant effects from literacy and numeracy skills on final and intermediate child health outcomes independent of the effects from schooling.

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Presented in Session 165: Child Health in Developing Countries