Child Mortality Highest in Sierra Leone

Jan. 30, 2014 – More children are living beyond school age than ever before but child mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa remain high with almost 10 percent of children dying before their fifth birthday.

The under-5 mortality rate globally has decreased from 75 deaths for every 1,000 children born in 2000 to 48 deaths for every 1,000 children born in 2012, according to UNICEF’s 2014 State of the World’s Children in Numbers report. This progress is still not enough to meet MDG4 which calls for a two-thirds reduction by 2015.

Sierra Leone has the world’s highest under-5 mortality rate with 198 deaths of children under-5 for every 1,000 children born. Angola, Chad, Somalia and Democratic Republic of the Congo all have rates of about 150 deaths for every 1,000 children while sub-Saharan Africa as a whole has a rate of 98/1000.

India (56/1000) and Nigeria (124/1000) account for more than one-third of all under-5 child deaths globally.

The under-5 mortality rate is considered a principal indicator of a country’s development as it is the result of a number of factors including the health of mothers, the level of immunization, availability of maternal and child health services, income and food availability, availability of clean water and safe sanitation and the overall safety of the child’s environment.

The countries with the highest rate of under-5 child mortality are:

1. Sierra Leone 182 (deaths before the age of five for every 1,000 children born)
2. Angola 164
3. Chad 150
4. Somalia 147
5. Democratic Republic of the Congo 146
6. Central African Republic 129
7. Guinea-Bissau 129
8. Mali 128
9. Nigeria 124
10. Niger 114

Other countries with high child mortality include Afghanistan (99/1000), Pakistan (86/1000) , Haiti  (76/1000) and Bangladesh (41/1000).

The 2014 State of the World’s Children in Numbers report is here.

– Denis Fitzgerald
On Twitter @denisfitz

Photo: child in Bangladesh receiving polio vaccine/wikimedia