Rural Liberian Mothers' Helpless 'Health' Decisions

Jaehyun Ahn, Manuel Pina, Gary E. Briers, Shahriar R. Kibriya, Edwin C. Price, Glen C. Shinn, Dagbegnon C.D. Sohoulande


In the fourteen years since the end of Liberia’s civil war, Liberian women have
experienced many adversities because of continued civil conflict. Empirical studies are lacking; this article fills that gap. Analysis of the 2007 and the 2013 Liberia Demographic and Health Surveys (LDHS) reveal a vast disparity between rural and urban populations. This study focuses on 15 to 19-year-old women in five regions in the 2013 LDHS. The population’s Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to identify the nutritional status of Liberian mothers and categorized for ordered logistic regressions. Also, a Monte Carlo (MC) Simulation is performed to show the effect of wealth (based on years of education). Age, literacy, and wealth have positive relationships with BMI. The Cumulative Distribution Function (CDF) Graph after 500 iterations shows a huge wealth gap between the South
Central and other four regions of the country. Implications arise from the results that young rural Liberian mothers have been the most disadvantaged in health, education, and wealth. The prevalence of ‘traditional’ agricultural techniques in rural Liberia causes households to remain impoverished and malnourished. These circumstances might not differ from the pre-war period. They were and remain helpless decision makers in Liberia. This paper will illuminate the possible future impacts of the prevailing conditions in Liberia on not only the country itself but also in other surrounding and far away countries, e.g., internally displaced persons, refugees, and asylees.


post conflict; rural Liberia; Liberia Demographic and Health Surveys; Mothers; Health; Education; Wealth

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