The Impact Of Education On The Lifestyle Of Pregnant Women: A Case Study of the Kumasi Metropolis In Ghana.
Most countries in the world including Ghana are striving to reduce maternal mortality in order to attain the millennium development goal number 5. Institutions like the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) believe that, ‘‘educating girls for six years or more drastically and consistently improves their prenatal care, postnatal care and childbirth survival rates’’ (www.unicef.org/mdg/maternal.html). Also the 2008 Millennium development goal report points out low literacy rate among girls as one of the major challenges in combating maternal mortality. These claims above, suggest that, education will help girls or women adopt lifestyles, which will improve maternal health and hence reduce maternal mortality. This study therefore was carried out basically to find out the impact of education on the lifestyle of 400 conveniently selected pregnant women in the Kumasi Metropolis of Ghana. The study looked at the impact of education on six lifestyles (Smoking, drinking alcohol, using a mosquito treated net, attending antenatal regularly and whether a respondent will prefer to deliver in a hospital and still seek for postnatal care after delivery). Using the Probit regression model to find the impact of education on each lifestyle question separately, it was found that, education had no or little impact on drinking alcohol and attending antenatal regularly, but had a positive significant impact on the probability that, a pregnant woman in the sampled population will use a treated Mosquito net and engage in regular physical exercises. No regression was run, to find the impact of education on smoking, hospital delivery and postnatal care, because both the educated and the uneducated answered yes throughout. The study also used the likelihood ratio test to find out whether the positive significant impact of the education parameters when it comes to regular physical exercise and the usage of a treated mosquito net varied or not and it was revealed that all the coefficients of the education variables (Basic, Senior High and Tertiary) were statistically not different in terms of their impact on treated mosquito net usage and embarking on regular physical exercises. The study recommended that, since education and income had a significant impact on the usage of mosquito treated net and embarking on regular physical exercises which are key to maternal health, it is important that, the Government of Ghana and all other stake holders institute measures towards providing mosquito treated nets to the uneducated and people with low income since they are unlikely to buy and also encourage them to embark on physical exercises regularly. The study also among its policy prescriptions, recommended that affirmative action’s that will increase the enrolment of girls in schools should be instituted since education has proven to impact on certain lifestyles that affect the survival of pregnant women.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Economics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts Degree in Economics, March-2013