Levels of mortality and socioeconomic differentials in child mortality in Lesotho.
The main purpose of this study was two fold: to estimate mortality levels and to investigate socio-economic differentials in child mortality. Brass Indirect Techniques were used to estimate both child and adult mortality based on the 2001 Lesotho Demographic Survey. National estimates gave an IMR of 76 deaths per 1000 live births and a CMR of 30 deaths per 1000 live births. On the other hand, while the 1996 Lesotho Population Census showed life expectancy at birth as 59.5 years, the 2001 Survey gave an estimate of 55.4 years. Generally speaking, males are more prone to death in Lesotho than females. Infant mortality rate is estimated to be 69 deaths per 1000 live births for females and 84 deaths per 1000 live births for males. Results on child mortality further emphasised that male children are indeed at the risk of death than female children in Lesotho, estimated at 34 and 26 deaths per 1000 survivors at age 1 but dying before age 5 respectively. On the other hand, there is a strikingly huge gap between male and female adult mortality levels. Although, this study did not cover the details of why this might be the case, this difference might be a retlection of the impact of HIV/AIDS epidemic. The life expectancy at age 20 was estimated as 38.1 years for males and 48.7 years for females. On the other hand, the 2001 life expectancy at birth has been estimated as 56.7 years for females and 54.1 years for males. The difference between the life expectancy at birth for males and females is not huge, but this does not rule out evidence that longevity in Lesotho has declined and mortality still remains high. Analysis of differentials reveals that there exist socio-economic disparities measured using maternal variables. As was expected, there is an inverse relationship between improved education of the mother, housing, and sanitation and child mortality within households in Lesotho. Children residing in urban areas are better off in Lesotho compared with children residing in the rural areas. But, contrary to our expectation children that are raised in female-headed households that were assumed to be poor were found to be experiencing lower risks of dying when compared with children in maleheaded households.