Many countries still have high levels of child mortality, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and in recent years have made little or no progress in reducing the number of child deaths. In turn, global progress to achieve MDGs in which reduction of mortality was articulated remains largely insufficient. By its influences on health, water/sanitation services, education and economic development, corruption could potentially have a great impact on the dynamics of child mortality.
In this report, the authors gathered and analyzed data on national under five mortality rates, the classical risk factors of child mortality, and corruption. Using linear regressions, the authors 1) assessed at a country scale the current impacts of corruption on global children mortality rate after adjusting with a large set of variables, and 2) roughly calculated the number of children deaths attributable to corruption. The report documents that more than 140,000 annual children deaths could be indirectly attributed to corruption. More details on the analyses by country and interpretations are accessible at: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0026990
BACKGROUND: Information on the global risk factors of children mortality is crucial to guide global efforts to improve survival. Corruption has been previously shown to significantly impact on child mortality. However no recent quantification of its current impact is available.
METHODS: The impact of corruption was assessed through crude Pearsons correlation, univariate and multivariate linear models coupling national under-five mortality rates in 2008 to the national “perceived level of corruption” (CPI) and a large set of adjustment variables measured during the same period.
FINDINGS: The final multivariable model (adjusted R2 = 0.89) included the following significant variables: percentage of people with improved sanitation (p.value<0.001), logarithm of total health expenditure (p.value = 0.006), Corruption Perception Index (p.value<0.001), presence of an arid climate on the national territory (p = 0.006), and the dependency ratio (p.value<0.001). A decrease in CPI of one point (i.e. a more important perceived corruption) was associated with an increase in the log of national under-five mortality rate of 0.0644. According to this result, it could be roughly hypothesized that more than 140000 annual children deaths could be indirectly attributed to corruption.
INTERPRETATIONS: Global response to children mortality must involve a necessary increase in funds available to develop water and sanitation access and purchase new methods for prevention, management, and treatment of major diseases drawing the global pattern of children deaths. However without paying regard to the anti-corruption mechanisms needed to ensure their proper use, it will also provide further opportunity for corruption. Policies and interventions supported by governments and donors must integrate initiatives that recognise how they are inter-related.