Nigeria’s increasing infant mortality rate raises concerns

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As the World Infants Day approaches, stakeholders have called for improvements in the level of healthcare administered to children across the nation.

Recent trends show that although fatalities from infant and under-five mortality has been on the decline, the number of lives lost to preventable illnesses are still cause for concern.

Curable infectious diseases such as diarrhoea, measles, malaria, pneumonia and AIDS account for more than 70 per cent of the estimated one million child deaths in Nigeria. Other prominent causes include asphyxia, lack of immunization, severe infection, tetanus and premature birth.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age die each day as a result of poor care making the nation the one of the largest contributors to the infant and maternal mortality rate worldwide.

At present, Central and West Africa records the highest cases of child-deaths, with most of them being under the age of five.

Based on figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO), immunization currently averts an approximate two to three million deaths every year, but an estimated 21.8 million infants worldwide still have no access to basic vaccines.

Speaking on the importance of immunization, WHO assistant director-general for family, women’s and children’s health, Flavia Bustreo said, “It is critical that the global community now makes a collective and cohesive effort to create more equitable access to vaccines for people in all communities.”

In a bid to proffer solutions to raging healthcare challenges, Jumia Travel entered a partnership with UNICEF in October 2014, to provide modern and cost efficient access to vaccines and vital medical services  for children across the continent.

With Jumia Travel’s support, the global child protection body will receive a donation of $5 for every $50 customer booking made on Africa’s largest hotel booking portal.

“Our children are our greatest gift; they are the future and this is why issues affecting them should be a priority always,” says Marek Zmyslowski, managing director of Jumia Travel Nigeria.

As part of the government’s effort to address the situation, the 2015 Millennium Development Goals which seeks to reduce by two-thirds the death rates among children younger than five years of age has been launched and large-scale immunization programmes activated.

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