Nigeria’s under-five mortality rate reduction by two points significant –Paediatr

Maria Williams Mon 29-Aug-22 09:08:55

A professor of paediatrics at the University of Ilorin, Prof. Olugbenga Mokuolu, has said that the decrease in the under-five mortality rate in Nigeria from one in eight in the 2016 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey to one in 10 in the latest 2021 MICS report is significant and encouraging.

According to the child health expert, though the progress might be slow, achieving two points reduction in under-five mortality rate in five years should be appreciated.

Prof. Mokuolu, who is also a researcher, described the reduction as a definite movement forward, stressing that it took several efforts and interventions to get those indices to change.

The new Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey and National Immunization Coverage Survey recently launched by Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was implemented by the National Bureau of Statistics in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund.

The MICS-NICS results indicated that Nigeria has made progress in some sectors.

The MICS, according to the NBS, provides data on child mortality, health, nutrition, education, child and social protection, women’s health care and empowerment, water, sanitation, and hygiene, while NICS assesses vaccination coverage provided through the health systems.

It added that indicators produced for the first time include social transfer, household energy use, child functioning, and foundational learning skills.

The survey measures the government’s progress towards national commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Commenting on the report, the professor said, “I checked the 2016 MICS report and in 2016, neonatal mortality was 39 per 1000 live births; infant mortality was 70 per 1000 live births; under-five mortality was 120 per 1000 live births which is why it is being reported as one in eight.

“For 2021 MICS report, neonatal mortality is 34 per 1000 live births; infant mortality is not quite well stated but it looks like 63 per 1000 per live births and under-five mortality is 102 per 1000 live births.

“So, if you compare 120 per 1000 live births in the last report to the current report of 102 per 1000 live births that will give you approximately one in 10 children dying before their fifth birthday, suggesting that there has been an improvement with the 2021 report.

“it is significant. It might be slow, but it is significant. It is a definite move forward because getting those types of composite indices to change is not easy. Now, we are looking at an impact indicator.”

The paediatrican pointed out that so many factors come into play for a mortality rate to change

“So, it is the summary of so many things that will allow your mortality rate to change. It is not just a single action. Basically, depth of survival is the expression of the summary of many interventions from infectious disease control to nutrition, immunisation, and all that.

“The summary of all these put together is what determines childhood mortality indices. 

“So, if you even have a movement of one point, it is significant because to achieve that one point means that you have done something for several months to achieve those points.

“All these factors worked together to result in the two-point movement from one in eight to one in 10. 

“That is why I said that it is not an ordinary achievement. It is a very significant achievement,” he noted

The child health expert also said that improvement in other indices such as exclusive breastfeeding rate, birth registration, and reduction in child marriage, among others should be appreciated.

He added, “You could also appreciate other parameters that have improved. The exclusive breastfeeding rate has increased from 24 per cent to 34 per cent. That is a significant lead and that means that messages on breastfeeding are receiving positive updates.

“And I know that there have been several efforts to reinforce breastfeeding practices and maybe, we are beginning to see the dividend of that. There is an increase in birth registration. Almost 60 per cent of births are registered.”

Speaking on the way forward, the paediatrician urged the government to sustain areas it had made progress and improve maternal education.

He noted that maternal education was crucial in reducing infant mortality, urging the government to invest in those factors that promote rapid gain.

“Sustain areas you have successes. Ensure birth registration, and proper distribution of health personnel because access to skilled birth attendants is low in rural areas but higher in urban areas. Those are the gaps that we need to address,” he added.


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