Socioeconomic Status and Malaria Preventive Behaviors

Evidence from Malawi

This is my final project for Economic Health (Global Health) class in fall semester of my junior year (2017). In global health, we study the relevance of economics and health. The class’ objective mainly lies between health care market and health care system in different countries. I chose to study the gradient of socioeconomic status of Malawian population and their preventive behaviors because:

“Malaria is the most prevalent parasitic endemic disease in Africa, which is preventable, treatable and curable.”

I investigate the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and malaria preventive behaviors by using the standard DHS data from Malawi (2015-2016). I test education level and wealth separately on bed net ownership and bed net usage. I found a robust positive relationship that an increase in additional unit of education and wealth increases the probability of owning and using a bed net. Evidence also suggests that there are other factors that encourage the usage of bed nets. For instance, a pregnant woman is more likely to own and use a bed net. The overall result shows that education and wealth affect preventive behaviors in the same pattern. An increase in probability of bed net usage is relatively smaller than that of bed net ownership per unit increase in SES.

Keyword: Bed Net Ownership, Bed Net Usage, Preventive Behavior, Education, Wealth

Relevant Content

Through out the course, we read many articles and books. I highly recommend the book “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder and “The Healing of America” by T.R. Reid. Mountains Beyond Mountains unfolds the story of Dr. Paul Farmer travels to Haiti to cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine of those who need them most. The Healing of America tells the story of Dr. T.R. Reid who traveled to different countries to treat his injured shoulder. Through his journey, he discusses healthcare system in each country. I also recommend “Routes of Infection: Exports and HIV Incidence in Sub-Saharan Africa” by Emily Oster (2007). The article investigates the relevance of exports and HIV infections due to the movement of people. Give it a read! If you would like to read my paper or have any questions, I am happy to discuss. Please leave a comment or email me with your inquiries.

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