Infant mortality is a complex problem with no single solution. Numerous social, economic and intermediate issues play a role, rather than there simply being an issue of health care access or health care quality. The aim of the study was to determine the impact of intermediate factors (consanguineous marriage, mother's age and body mass index) on socioeconomic differences in infant mortality in the Gaza Strip. Person to person interviews were carried out with 550 mothers of infants; 275 infant deaths and 275 live births in the Gaza Strip. Binary logistic regression analyses were used to identify the relationship of health behavioral factors and infant mortality. Our study shows a clear positive statistical association between intermediate factors (normal weight, non-consanguineous marriage and mothers aged from 20 to 35) and survival of infants. Consanguineous marriage is the strongest intermediate factor (p-value = 0.000), followed by the mother's age (p-value = 0.005) and then body mass index (p-value = 0.012). In order to reduce infant mortality, governmental policy should give priority to health promotion and education among the public about the risk of early childbearing, consanguineous marriage and unhealthy weight.
Key words: Infant mortality, consanguineous marriage, young mother, older mother, underweight mother, obese mother, Gaza Strip.
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