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Under-Five Child Mortality Up 20% In Zimbabwe, New Data Shows

UNICEF and the government of Zimbabwe announced Tuesday that, according to new social development data, the mortality rate for children under age five has risen by 20 percent since 1990, Reuters reports. The data suggest that the mortality rate is increasing at a slower rate than in March 2005, when it rose by 50 percent, compared to 1990 (Dzirutwe, 11/24).

UNICEF’s Harare representative Peter Salama said the information “underscores the deterioration that has occurred in the social sectors in the last few years and the tragic consequences that have resulted,” SAPA/News24.com reports. According to Salama, the major causes of death for children under age five were diarrhea, HIV/AIDS, newborn disorders and pneumonia. SAPA/News24.com reports that the “survey also showed that half of pregnant women in rural areas were now delivering at home, with 40% of them giving birth without any skilled assistance” (11/24).

According to a UNICEF press release, “The survey is designed to obtain strategic information relevant for policy makers as they make decisions on development priorities and budgets. In addition the survey provides data on Zimbabwe’s progress in attaining international priorities like the Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs)” (11/24).