Subnational variations in electricity access and infant mortality: Evidence from Ghana

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Objectives: The study investigated the relationship between electricity access and infant mortality at the sub- national level in Ghana, controlling for correlates such as birth interval, children living with both parents, women’s education, and income distribution. Methods: The study employed a pooled cross‐section regression approach using data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) for 10 administrative regions from 1993 to 2014. The GDHS is a detailed data set that provides comprehensive information on households and their socio‐economic and demo- graphic characteristics in Ghana. Results: The results show that in regions with low incidence of infant mortality, a 10% improvement in elec- tricity access reduces infant death by 11.8 per 1,000 live births, whereas in high mortality regions, improve- ment in electricity access has no impact on infant death. Birth interval reduces the risk of infant death in low mortality regions but not in high mortality regions. Children living with both parents have a high proba- bility of survivorship in high mortality regions. Women’s median years of education lowers the likelihood of infant death in high mortality regions but increases the likelihood in low mortality regions. Wealth distribution is inconsequential for infant death in low mortality regions, but in high mortality regions, both the wealthiest and the poorest experienced significant decline in infant death. Conclusions: The findings underscore the fruitfulness of investigating the effects of electricity access and other correlates on infant mortality at the subnational level. The study recommends that the provision of reliable access to electricity is needed to improve infant mortality rates. However, policies that seek to improve access to reliable electricity should be implemented together with health infrastructure development policies, espe- cially in the regions with high infant mortality rates, for electricity access to have the desired effect