Ebaidalla Mahjoub Ahmed on understanding inequality of opportunity in child health in Sudan

Despite huge agricultural resources, a large segment of population in Sudan suffers from hunger and nutrition insecurity, mainly vulnerable groups such as children. Indeed, child malnutrition is a widespread phenomenon, particularly in rural areas, where most of the inhabitants live under the poverty line. Moreover, inequality in access to public services such as healthcare, education, and clean water is a prevailing phenomenon across all Sudanese states. These inequalities are responsible for a wide range of disparity in socio-economic outcomes among population, particularly child health and nutrition. Therefore, this study aims at understanding the pattern and determinants of inequality of opportunity in child’s health to uncover the main factors (circumstances) that are beyond the control of children and influencing their health outcomes.

The study uses the 2014 Sudan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), a nationally representative, cross-sectional, household survey. We measure health outcomes by z-scores of a child height and weight, following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) reference distribution for “healthy” children. After computing the Z-scores of height and weight, the analysis will proceed in two steps as follows: First, we analyze the extent of inequality of opportunity in health among children aged less than 5 years, employing recent methodology on inequality of opportunity that adopted by some scholars (e.g. Roemer, 1998; Assad et al, 2012, and Kraft, 2015). Second, we decompose inequality into a portion that is due to inequality of opportunity and a portion that is due to other factors, such as, random variations in health. This will be done using Shapley decomposition method to estimate the contribution of the key circumstances, such as, parental education, parental wealth, gender, and place of residence, that are beyond the control of those children and affecting their development outcomes. Finally, in order to distinguish inequality of opportunity from the residual attributed to luck, we use the generalized entropy (GE) indices.

About the speaker

Ebaidalla Mahjoub Ahmed is an Assistant Professor of Economics and the director of Health Economics Centre, University of Khartoum. He got his PhD in Economics from University of Khartoum in 2013. He was a visiting research fellow at the Horn of Africa Economic and Social Policy Institute (HESPI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and a research fellow at Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, USA, during July-August 2018. He also a research Associate at Economic Research Forum (ERF) for the Arab countries, Iran and Turkey. His fields of specialization are in the areas of international trade, Labor Economics and Health Economics. He has published several papers in international journals. He participated in many forums and conferences on development issues pertaining to Arab world and Africa.

Location: UNU-WIDER, Katajanokanlaituri 6 B, Helsinki, Finland