Zim records decline in infant mortality rate

ZIMBABWE has recorded a decrease in mortality rate for children below five years with statistics showing that the countrya��s infant and maternal mortality figures declined by 20 and 36 percent since 2009.
A research, which was conducted by the United Nations Childrena��s Fund (Unicef), shows that Zimbabwea��s maternal mortality rate now stands at 614 deaths in every 100A�000 pregnancies and infant mortality rate is 75 per 100A�000.

The number of pregnant women, who received prenatal care increased from 57 to 70 percent, while mothers accessing care after giving birth has soared from 27 to 78 percent, reads part of the findings.

Commenting on the research findings, Unicefa��s chief representative in Zimbabwe, Reza Hossaini, said while there was slight improvement on the figures there is still a lot of work to do on the ground.

a�?Let us keep in mind that, yes, we have won battles here and there. We have bent the maternal mortality, but we have really not won the war as yet,a�? she said.

a�?These gains cannot be sustained and further progress cannot be made if we lose our focus from those strategic choices that we have made, now that we know they have delivered positive results.a�?

The decrease in the maternal mortality in the country came at a time when the United Nations on Tuesday revealed the latest statistics showing that the global under-five mortality rates had dropped by 49 percent between 1990 and 2013.

However, UN says the progress is still short of meeting the global target of a two-thirds decrease in under-five mortality by 2015.

New estimates in a�?Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2014a�? show that in 2013, 6,3 million children under five died from mostly preventable causes, around 200 000 fewer than in 2012.

a�?There has been dramatic and accelerating progress in reducing mortality among children, and the data proves that success is possible even for poorly resourced countries,a�? said Mickey Chopra, head Unicefa��s of global health programmes.

a�?There is now a gathering momentum from countries in every part of the world to make sure proven, cost-effective interventions are applied where they will save the most lives.a�?

Some of the key findings indicate that while Sub-Saharan Africa has cut under-five mortality rates by 48 percent since 1990, it still has the worlda��s highest rate of 92 deaths per 1A�000 live births, that is, nearly 15 times the average in high-income countries.

More so, the research reveals that two countries, India 21 percent and Nigeria 13 percent, together account for more than one-third of deaths among children below 5 years of age.

The leading causes of under-five deaths, the research says, are pre-term birth complications 17 percent, pneumonia 15 percent, complications during labour and delivery 11 percent, diarrhoea nine percent and malaria seven percent. Under-nutrition contributes to nearly half of all under-five deaths.

The Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2014 report is developed annually by the United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, which is led by Unicef and includes the World Health Organisation, the World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. a�� Radiodialogue.