Frequency of Twin Births in Sub-Saharan Africa: Levels, Trends, and Associated Factors

Adama Ouedraogo , Université de Versailles – Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines et Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
Gilles Pison, Muséum National D'histoire Naturelle
Sophie Le Coeur, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Abdramane Soura, Université de Ouagadougou

Since the 1970s, twin birth rates have increased sharply in developed countries. In Africa, where the rate was apparently the highest in the world, its evolution is poorly known. Yet twin births can be a public health challenge on the continent. Therefore, a good knowledge of their rates and their geographical and temporal variations is essential in a context of policies and programmes to reduce infant and maternal mortality. This article determines twinning rate in sub-Saharan Africa over the period of 1986–2016, using 174 national surveys from 42 countries, describing its spatial and temporal variations. Based on a sample of births between 2000 and 2010 from 25 countries, it analyses the factors associated with twin births. Our results indicate an overall sub-Saharan twinning rate of 17‰; with a maximum in Benin (27‰) and a minimum in Somalia (6‰). Twinning rates also vary according to maternal age and birth rank. Explanatory analyses show an increased risk of twin births with maternal age and birth rank. This risk also varies according to ethnicity, sub-region and household wealth. Finally our results are of interest for informing health policies, since the high level of twin birth rates in sub-Saharan Africa creates important challenges in terms of developing obstetric and Neonatology services. Keywords: Twins, Twin births, Twinning rate, associated factors, sub-Saharan Africa

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality