Individual religious affiliation, religious community context and health in Mozambique

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This dissertation examines associations between religious affiliation, religious community context and health of women and their children in Mozambique focusing on the following issues: (1) attending prenatal consultations and delivering

This dissertation examines associations between religious affiliation, religious community context and health of women and their children in Mozambique focusing on the following issues: (1) attending prenatal consultations and delivering children in a health facility; (2) women's symptoms of STDs; and (3) under-five mortality. Estimation of random intercept Poisson regression for the outcome about attending prenatal consultations demonstrated a favorable effect of affiliation to Catholic or Mainline Protestant and Apostolic religious groups. The concentration of Zionist churches in the community had a negative influence. Random intercept logistic regression was used to estimate the relationship between religion and institutional child delivery. Affiliation to Catholic or Mainline Protestant denominations as well as concentration of Catholic or Mainline Protestant churches in the community had some beneficial effect on giving birth in health clinics. The presence of Zionist churches in the community had some negative effect and that of other groups no significant influence. Random intercept logistic regression was also employed for investigating the influence of religion on women's symptoms of STDs. Belonging to the Catholic or Mainline Protestant church had some protective effect on reporting symptoms of STDs. There was no effect of religious context, except that the concentration of Other Pentecostal churches had a positive effect on reporting symptoms of SDTs. Event-history analysis was conducted for examining relationships between maternal religious affiliation with under-five mortality. Affiliation to Catholic or Mainline Protestant churches and to Apostolic denominations increased the odds of child survival, although, the influence of having a mother belonging to Catholic or Mainline Protestant churches lost statistical significance after accounting particularly for the average level of education in the community, for the period of 5 years preceding the survey date. Taken together, the results in this dissertation show some protective effect of religion that varies primarily by denominational group to which women are affiliated. They also indicate that religious community context may have some negative effect on health of women and children. The nature of the effect of religious community context varies with the type of outcome considered and the type of religious mixture in the community.