Major Regional Differences in Child Mortality in Africa

Major Regional Differences in Child Mortality in Africa

Serious micronutrient deficiency is one of the main causes of the high mortality rate of infants and small children in Africa. Conversely, child mortality leads to conclusions on the supply of micronutrients, although the data vary considerably within African countries. An international team of scientists has now succeeded in recording the different mortality rates for 46 African countries by mapping them onto 5×5 km regional squares (1). The goal was to illustrate how the mortality rates have changed regionally since the turn of the century. For the first time, it was predicted how far the 46 African countries, as agreed as one of the Sustainable Development Goals, will be able to reduce mortality among the under 5 year old children to 25 deaths per 1,000 live births and infant mortality to 12 deaths per 1000 live births by 2030.

Botswana, Rwanda and Ethiopia have experienced the largest decline in child mortality since the turn of the century. According to the experts, these countries could reach the sustainable development goal in the reduction of child mortality before 2030. But they are an exception. Especially in West and Central African countries, child mortality is decreasing far too slow. Often, too little data is available, for example from Uganda. The figure of child mortality, not only in country comparisons, but also in regional squares of 5×5 km, provides a starting point for developing specific measures against child mortality. In 2015, the mortality rate among under-5-year-old children was still above 170 per 1,000 live births in 118 regional squares of Chad as well as in Mali, Burkina Faso and Central Africa. The largest regional differences in infant mortality occurred in Côte d’Ivoire in 2015. In Bagoue, the Savannah District, the highest rates were measured with 52.9 deaths per 1,000 life-born babies, the lowest in Cavalie (Montagne District) with 29.6 per 1,000 new born babies (2).


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(1) N. Golding et al. Mapping under-5 and neonatal mortality in Africa, 2000–15: a baseline analysis for the Sustainable Development Goals. The Lancet. Published: 25 September 2017. DOI:

(2) ibidem, Figure 3

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