Mash West women more fertile than those in Bulawayo – Study

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

A SURVEY has established that rural women in Zimbabwe are more fertile than urban ones with Mashonaland West leading the pack while Bulawayo Metropolitan province has the lowest fertility rate.

This is according to Multiple Cluster Indicator Survey (MICS) results released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) Thursday.

Presenting the results, a Zimstat official Evelyn Moshiri said that there was need to do more research and find out why rural women were more fertile.

“The total fertility rate (TFR) is calculated by summing the age-specific fertility rates, (ASFRs) calculated for each of the five-year age groups of women, from age 15 through to age 49,” she said.

“The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) per woman age 15-49 years is 3.9 children, TFR ranges from a low of 2.6 children in Bulawayo to a high of 4.4 in Mashonaland West.

“Women in the poorest wealth quintile have twice more children than those in the richest (5.3 vs 2.6).”

The study also shows that on age Specific Fertility Rate (ASFR) peaks at age 20-24 years for women in rural areas and peaks at age 25-29 years for women in urban.

“Adolescent Birth Rate was 8 times higher in women with primary than those with higher education, and 4 times higher in women from the poorest than those from the richest households.

“Adolescent Birth Rate ranged from 56 births per 1 000 women in Harare to 161 births per 1 000 women in Matabeleland North.”

One in four women aged 20-24 years had a live birth before age 18.

However, ZimStats officials could not provide specific reasons on the discrepancy.

“There is need to do a further research and come up with well-informed reasons why rural women are more fertile than their urban counterparts,” a Health Ministry official commented.

“Just bear in mind that a survey triggers more questions and lays foundation for another research or study.”