247828 Relationship between information and communication technologies development and infant mortality

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:50 AM

Kyle Mounts, MD, MPH , International Center for Information Technology and Development, Cedarburg, WI
Lynn Miner, PhD , Miner and Associates, Inc., Milwaukee, WI
Victor Mbarika, PhD , International Center for Information Technology and Development, Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA
Background: Information and communication technologies (ICT) can potentially improve infant mortality by decreasing resource scarcity and geographical distance barriers. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ICT Development Index (IDI) is a composite index comprised of three sub-indices: Access, Use, and Skills. We hypothesized (1) that countries with greater access to, usage of, and skills for ICT have lower infant mortality, and (2) that differences in country income impact the pattern of sub-index correlation. Methods: Relationships between IDI total and sub-index data from 2008 and Central Intelligence Agency estimated infant mortality data (2010) for 158 countries were analyzed using Pearson correlation and regression analysis. Relationships between ITU data and infant mortality were also examined controlling for country wealth. Results: Increasing IDI was associated with decreasing infant mortality (correlation -0.77; regression 0.86). Correlation coefficients between Access, Use, and Skills sub-indices and infant mortality were -0.74, -0.64, and -0.85 with regression coefficients of 0.82, 0.74, and 0.76, respectively. IDI and Skills sub-index were negatively correlated with infant mortality at all country income levels with P<0.001. Access was negatively correlated (P<0.001) with infant mortality in lower-middle income countries. Use was negatively correlated (P<0.001) with infant mortality in low, lower-middle, and high income countries. Regression coefficients between sub-indices and infant mortality, controlling for country income, varied between 0.04 (low income Access) to 0.66 (lower-middle income Access). Conclusions: Although there are statistically significant correlations between IDI and infant mortality, regression analysis suggests that other factors contribute to variability. Additionally, the relationship between infant mortality and the sub-indices varies according to income classification, suggesting the potential role of other resource-related factors. Further research is needed to determine how the sub-indices impact delivery of perinatal care.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship between information and communication technology development and infant mortality. Describe the relationship between country wealth, infant mortality, and information and communication technology development.

Keywords: Infant Mortality, Information Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I consult on programs involving maternal and infant health in developing countries.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.