UR don awarded PhD degree following his successful thesis defence

Dr Francois Niragire has been added to the list of PhD holders at the University of Rwanda following the successful defence of his Doctoral research thesis entitled “Spatial Modelling of the Relationship between HIV Prevalence and Determinants of Child Mortality in Rwanda”.

His PhD research aimed at assessing the factors through which HIV/AIDS epidemic affected child mortality in Rwanda and pathways by which its overall impact was circumvented during the studied period.

Niragire responding to questions raised by external examiners via Skype.

In his research Niragire wanted to establish the correlation between the very high child survival gains and non-decreasing national HIV prevalence that coincided in Rwanda between 2005 and 2010; thus making the expected relationships between corresponding indicators not obvious.

His findings showed that socioeconomic and sexual behaviour-related factors played significant roles in HIV spread in women. Differences in child mortality were determined by district-level spatial factors, mother’s fertility, preceding birth interval, number of antenatal care visits, place of delivery, mother’s age, duration of breastfeeding, and household economic status. HIV prevalence was also a significant determinant of child mortality. However, it did not significantly affect statistical significance of the identified child mortality determinants. It only induced changes in the magnitude of the effects of household economic status, mother’s fertility, spatial factors and all nonlinear-effect determinants. No changes were detected in the effect of antenatal care visits and place of delivery.


Niragire (left) and Jury members during thesis presentation

Niragire concluded that HIV prevalence had a significant effect on child mortality. It also influenced the effect of certain key child mortality determinants, most of which are not very important during infancy where most of child deaths occurred in Rwanda. Further child survival gains can be achieved by changing women’s sexual behaviours. He also argue that the residual impact of HIV prevalence might have been significantly offset by an improved access to maternal and child health care services.

His doctoral studies were funded by the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) in collaboration with the University of Rwanda. This is part of CARTA mission to advance research training in Africa by enhancing the capacity of African universities to lead globally competitive research and training programmes.

In the last six years, the incoming Doctor has been involved in a number of research where he co-authored in various publications including “Determinants of increasing duration of first unemployment among first degree holders in Rwanda: a logistic regression analysis” and “Analysis of Causes of Physical Domestic Violence against Women in Huye District of Rwanda” to mention but a few.

More about his publications Click here

More Photos


Niragire congratulated by one of the jury members after earning his PhD degree


Niragire poses with his wife and daughter

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