Determinants of Maternal Perceptions of Child Health in the Informal Urban Settlement of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya: a Quantitative Study




Drengson, Jane

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



As populations in informal urban settlements continue to grow, an increasing number of people are exposed to unsafe living conditions. Children are particularly vulnerable to the environmental risks associated with this settlement type. While much is known about child morbidity and mortality in informal urban settlements, little is known about maternal perceptions of child health. This thesis explores the determinants of maternal perceptions of child health in the informal urban settlement of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. Data utilized in this thesis come from A Kenya Free of AIDS (KeFA), a research-based, National Institute of Health-funded project. Through Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS), 320 women in Kibera were recruited for interviews. Of these, 277 reported having children in their care and were accordingly selected for analysis. Questions selected for analysis were divided into four categories: child health, maternal background, social and economic support, child characteristics and maternal health. Data were analysed using Student’s t-tests, chi-squares, and multiple regression methodology. Two different response variables were used in the regressions: general child illness rating and infrequency of child illness. Analysis indicated that women in the sample were significantly more likely to report poor child health if they: had more children in their care, had younger children in their care, were involved in an intimate relationship, and had experienced a recent barrier to medical treatment for a child. Exploring maternal perceptions of child health is critical because these perceptions are the precursor to healthcare-seeking behaviour.



East Africa, Kenya, maternal health, informal urban settlement, slum, social dimensions of health