Mapping local variation in educational attainment across Africa

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From: Nature(Vol. 555, Issue 7694)
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Document Type: Report
Length: 6,588 words
Lexile Measure: 1560L

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Author(s): Nicholas Graetz [1]; Joseph Friedman [1]; Aaron Osgood-Zimmerman [1]; Roy Burstein [1]; Molly H. Biehl [1]; Chloe Shields [1]; Jonathan F. Mosser [1]; Daniel C. Casey [1]; Aniruddha Deshpande [1]; Lucas Earl [1]; Robert C. Reiner [1]; Sarah E. Ray [1]; Nancy Fullman [1]; Aubrey J. Levine [1]; Rebecca W. Stubbs [1]; Benjamin K. Mayala [1]; Joshua Longbottom [2]; Annie J. Browne [2]; Samir Bhatt [3]; Daniel J. Weiss [2]; Peter W. Gething [2]; Ali H. Mokdad [1]; Stephen S. Lim [1]; Christopher J. L. Murray [1]; Emmanuela Gakidou (corresponding author) [1]; Simon I. Hay (corresponding author) [1, 2]

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) states that the ultimate mission of the education targets in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all [1, 2, 3]. This is important, because it has been shown that increasing the number of years of schooling that are completed (educational attainment), can lead to higher capital, greater social mobility and increased equity among men and women, in these and other socio-economic outcomes [1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Educational attainment for women of reproductive age is also among the leading social determinants of health, with higher attainment being strongly associated with improved reproductive health and decreased child mortality [9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14]. The causal pathway between education and health is difficult to study, because randomized control trial methods are logistically challenging and ethically problematic. Observational studies controlling for other predictors of health status, such as age and income, however, indicate that even small gains in educational attainment may improve health outcomes across a wide variety of low-income contexts. Studies across diverse settings have found that increased education for women of reproductive age is associated with improved child nutrition and decreased child mortality, and this effect is consistently stronger than increases in income [15, 16]. Importantly, a comprehensive multi-level study found that increases in average attainment in communities are associated with improved survival for infants born to all women in that community, regardless of their own educational attainment or income [17]. This is consistent with research on health behaviours, showing that less-educated women model health behaviours on those of their broader community [18]. These improved health outcomes have also been shown through increased use of prenatal care, greater adherence to treatment regimens and increased contraception use [9, 12, 19, 20]. Despite these clear benefits, international aid for basic education has been deprioritized as a proportion of total aid expenditure every year since 2010 [21].

Precision public health and education

SDG 4 focuses on the reduction of inequalities in education on the basis of factors such as wealth, sex and location [1, 2, 22]. In addition, UNESCOs agenda for reforming education access in developing countries is itself centred around equity [22, 23]. Global health efforts have included substantial investments in the use of data to guide interventions that will benefit populations more efficiently and increase equity in...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A529350378