Among the children who die in Sub-Saharan Africa, twins are affected above-average. One fifth do not reach their fifth birthday. Those numbers are three times higher as for babies born as singletons. While overall childhood mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa has declined significantly among under-five-year-olds in recent decades, it has increased proportionally for twins, reported The Lancet (1).
According to the study authors, the diminished survival rate of twins cannot be explained solely by the factors that have so far been characterized to describe child mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. Pregnancies and births of twins are extremely risky for mothers and children in Sub-Saharan Africa: Twins are often born too early and/or with too low birthweight. Mothers of twins die above average during birth or suffer from anemia and a dysregulated blood pressure afterwards.Twin pregnancies should therefore be accompanied with special care.
The researchers of the Oxford University analyzed the twin mortality in thirty countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Zambia as well as Côte d’Ivoire. The data was collected between 1995 to 2014. In the Central African Corridor, which stretches from Guinea, Liberia and the Côte d’Ivoire in the west to Tanzania, Mozambique and the Comoros in the east, twins are born particular frequently. There, out of a 1,000 births eighteen and more are twins; compared to Europe and North America where 8 – 16 and to Latin America and Asia where 6-9 are twins.
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(1) CWS Monden and J Smits. Mortality among twins and singletons in sub-Saharan Africa between 1995 and 2014: a pooled analysis of data from 90 Demographic and Health Surveys in 30 countries. The Lancet. Volume 5, No. 7, e673–e679, July 2017. Abrufbar über http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(17)30197-3/fulltext