Children’s Risk Of Dying Before Age Five Varies- Local Study

A study mapping child deaths over two decades finds that the likelihood of a child reaching age five varies nearly four-fold among local government areas in Nigeria. The research shows that in Nigeria, 789,037 children died before their fifth birthdays in 2017, as compared to 1,011,620 in 2000.

The highest mortality rate in 2017 at the level of local government areas was 195.1 in Garki, while the lowest was 52.0 in the Egor Local Government in Edo State. According to the Global Burden of Disease study, neonatal disorders were the biggest causes of deaths before age five in both 2000 and 2017.

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The study authors noted that decreases in deaths from diarrhoea and lower respiratory infections accounted for 40 per cent of the overall drop in child deaths over the study period.Published in the journal, Nature, the findings include precision maps illuminating health disparities within countries and regions often obscured by national-level analyses.

The research, conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, looked at countries where more than 90 per cent of child deaths occurred in 2017.

“Mortality rates varied as much as 10-fold between districts within a country. Across all countries studied, the likelihood of a child dying before age five varied more than 40-fold at the district level,”

the study authors wrote.

The researchers estimated that if every district in the low-and middle-income countries studied had met the Sustainable Development Goal target of at least as low as 25 child deaths per 1,000 live births, 2.6 million, fewer children would have died.

“If every district within a country rose to the level of the best-performing district in that country, the estimated number of deaths averted rises to 2.7 million.

The vast majority of the17,554 districts among the 99 nations studied saw improvement in lowering child deaths, but levels of inequality between districts were more variable over the study period.

Despite major gains in reducing child deaths over the past 20 years, the highest rates of death in 2017 were still largely concentrated where rates were highest in 2000,”

the researcher wrote.

The senior author of the study, Dr Simon Hay, said,

“It is as reprehensible as it is tragic that, on average, nearly 15,000 children under age five die every day. Why are some areas doing so well while others struggle?

To make progress, we need to enable precise targeting of interventions, such as vaccines. Our findings provide a platform for nations’ health ministers, clinicians, and others to make focused improvements in health systems.”

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