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Nexus of Health and Development: Modelling Crude Birth Rate and Maternal Mortality Ratio Using Nighttime Satellite Images

Roychowdhury, Koel, Jones, Simon
ISPRS international journal of geo-information 2014 v.3 no.2 pp. 693-712
birth rate, confidence interval, image analysis, models, mortality, prediction, remote sensing, satellites, socioeconomics, India
Health and development are intricately related. Although India has made significant progress in the last few decades in the health sector and overall growth in GDP, there are still large regional differences in both health and development. The main objective of this paper is to develop techniques for the prediction of health indicators for all the districts of India and examine the correlations between health and development. The level of electrification and district domestic product (DDP) are considered as two fundamental indicators of development in this research. These data, along with health metrics and the information from two nighttime satellite images, were used to propose the models. These successfully predicted the health indicators with less than a 7%–10% error. The chosen health metrics, such as crude birth rate (CBR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR), were mapped for the whole country at the district level. These metrics showed very strong correlation with development indicators (correlation coefficients ranging from 0.92 to 0.99 at the 99% confidence interval). This is the first attempt to use Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) (satellite) imagery in a socio-economic study. This paper endorses the observation that areas with a higher DDP and level of electrification have overall better health conditions.