Small Area Estimation for Policy Development: A Case Study of Child Undernutrition in Ghana

Indian Agricultural Research Journals
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of the Indian Society of Agricultural Statistics, 2012, 66 (1), pp. 171 - 186
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The demand for Small (local-level) Area Statistics has increased tremendously, particularly in countries where a decentralised approach to governance and service provision has been adopted. Most of these countries lack local-level statistics to aid policy decisions and planning. Sample surveys such as the Demographic and Health Survey provide a wide range of invaluable data at the national and regional level but cannot be used directly to produce reliable district-level estimates due to small smaple sizes. The paper illustrates the application of Small Area Estimation (SAE) techniques to derive model-based district-level estimates of child undernutrition in Ghana linking data from the 2003 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) and the 2000 Ghana Population and Housing Census (GPHC). The diagnostics measures show that the model-based estimates are robust when compared to the direct surevey estimates. The model-based estimates reveal considerable heterogeneity in the prevalence of undernutrition, with children living in the Northern part of the country being most disadvantaged. The estimates clearly highlight the districts where targeted child health interventions need to be strengthened. In countries where small area statistics are non-existent, SAE techniques could be crucila for designing effective policies and strengthening local-level governance.
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