Short interpregnancy interval and its predictors in Ethiopia: implications for policy and practice.
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Introduction: interpregnancy interval (IPI) is the time elapsed between the birth of one live child and the conception of subsequent pregnancies. Several studies in Ethiopia indicated a high prevalence of a short interbirth interval - a proxy indicator of IPI. However, these studies were prone to selection bias as they did not include women who did not go on to have another pregnancy. Therefore, this study estimated the incidence of short IPI (< 24 months) and its risk factors among women who had at least one child in Ethiopia. Methods: we used a retrospective analysis of a cross-sectional study from the nationally representative Ethiopian Mini Demographic and Health Survey (EMDHS) conducted in 2019. The event was defined as the conception of the subsequent pregnancy within 24 months following the last child. A weighted Cox Proportional Hazard model was used to estimate the adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: the incidence of short IPI was 6%. Rural residence, being young age, low educational attainment, having the last child died and having female last birth were the risk factors for short IPI. However, having higher parity, attending Antenatal Care (ANC) visits, being delivered at a health facility, and receiving Postnatal Care (PNC) visits were the protective factors for short IPI. Conclusion: the incidence of short IPI in Ethiopia was considerable. Sociodemographic and health service-related factors determine the short IPI. Hence, considering the immediate and long-term health and socioeconomic consequences of short IPI, the Ethiopian government should implement holistic and multisectoral interventions.
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