More expectant mothers go for checkups – infant mortality rate drops

30926759 - happy mother feeding her baby boy his bottle at home in the bedroom

CAPE TOWN- South Africa’s infant mortality rate is at its lowest in almost two decades‚ having fallen by 32% between 2002 and 2017.

The finding was published by Institute of Race Relations (IRR) after a 2018 South Africa Survey.

The institute said the improvement aligned with a high increase in the rate of antenatal first visits by pregnant women.

Tawanda Makombo an analyst said the drop in the infant mortality rate which measures the deaths of infants under one year per 1 000 live births in a year, is linked with a 96% improvement in the rate of antenatal first visits since 2006.

Makombo added that more can be done to further reduce the infant mortality rate.

The number of antenatal first visits, measures the proportion of pregnant women who visit antenatal clinics for the first time before 20 weeks of their pregnancy compared to the number of women who had at least one antenatal visit before delivery.

Between the years of 2002 and 2017 the institute said the infant mortality rate decreased from 48.1 per 1 000 live births to 32.8 per 1 000 live births. They also said between 2006 and 2016, the antenatal first visits increased from 31.3% to 61.2%.

Makombo said it is also on the department to further reduce the infant morality rate, “The national Department of Health must intensify public awareness efforts‚ and persuade more pregnant women to visit health practitioners for regular check-ups before and after giving birth‚ as this is essential for their babies’ health.”

Photo Credit- 123rf/ Wavebreak Media Ltd

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