Malawian research collaboration leads to unique doctoral study in economics

Annette Willemse -- Tue, 04/26/2016 - 09:11

Malawian research collaboration leads to unique doctoral study in economics

The degree Doctor of Philosophy in Economics was recently conferred upon Dr Sanderson Sabie Kuyeli, an economist within the Malawian Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC). Dr Kuyeli is responsible for the Malawi public sector’s performance enforcement.

In his thesis titled: “An investigation of social-economic antecedents of health outcomes in Malawi”, Dr Kuyeli investigated the socio-economic antecedents of health outcomes. The study focused on poverty, employment, school dropouts, food security, and education attainment as the main determinants of health outcomes in Malawi from a district level perspective.  The study analysed these specific socio-economic factors on their level and nature of interaction with the ultimate health outcomes namely; Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Under-five mortality rate and Disease Burden. The study furthermore used data from the Ministry of Health’s Management Information System (HMIS) surveys, the Welfare Monitoring Surveys and the Integrated Household Surveys (IHS).

In the analysis, a District Random Effect Model was used, where changes in the socio-economic characteristics of 28 districts of the country between five to ten years were investigated on their intermediate and overall influence on the health outcomes. Among other things the regression analysis isolated the level of impact (mortality levels) and intermediate influences (disease prevalence) to come up with the antecedents that significantly contributed to the district level health outcomes.

The research outcomes

The results indicated that the health outcomes (maternal mortality rate, infant mortality rates, and malaria mortality) can improve significantly by investing in programs that will reduce primary school dropout rates, improving general literacy levels, increased employment in the agriculture sector, as well as reduced household dependency ratio.  The results also shown that improved female literacy, primary school enrolment and general literacy rates significantly contribute to the reduced burden of diseases specifically malaria and tuberculosis.  However, the nature of interaction differs when considering the health outcome nature for example disease caused mortality and prevalence rates. The results therefore demonstrated that the model of interventions at district level would bring more meaningful results other than the national level tailored model of interventions.

According to Prof Wynand Grobler, the promotor of the study, the study’s significance is on the importance of adopting an intervention model and adapting it based on the significant antecedents at the district level.

More about Dr Kuyeli

Sanderson Sabie Kuyeli was born in the Chikwawa district of Malawi in January 1978. He has a Bachelor of Social Science (Economics) from the University of Malawi-Chancellor College (2004) and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Programme Management from the University of Bradford, UK (2008).

In his career, he has worked in various capacities in Malawi in several organisations both in the public and private sector. 

* The promotor of the study was Prof WCJ Grobler, Director of the School of Economic Sciences within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology.