Nigeria has recorded a major feat in its infant mortality rate profile by almost halving her under-5 deaths.The feat was contained in a new report released yesterday by Save the Children, an international organisation working to deliver change for children in 120 countries.
According to the report, West and Central African countries, including Nigeria, have cut under-5 deaths by nearly half in a generation.Although children living in or fleeing conflict zones across the region remain among the most disadvantaged, the report restated the likelihood of a child dying before its fifth birthday in Nigeria.
However, those of other West and Central African countries had been reduced by 47 per cent since the year 2000.The 2019 Global Childhood Report evaluated 176 countries on children’s access to healthcare, education, nutrition and protection from harmful practices like child labour and child marriage.
It finds that children born today in West and Central Africa have a better chance of surviving than at any time in history.
Just a generation ago, a child born in the region was nearly 90 per cent more likely to die before reaching the age of five and more than 20 per cent likely to be married, malnourished or out of school.
Launched ahead of International Children’s Day on June 1, Save the Children’s Global Childhood Report includes the annual End of Childhood Index, which finds that circumstances for children in the majority of countries across West and Central Africa have improved since 2000.
The report shows that the world has made remarkable progress in protecting childhood, thanks to strong political leadership, social investments, and the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).Despite the progress recorded globally, Nigeria still ranks 170 out of 176 doing slightly better than countries like Somalia, South Sudan, Mali, Chad, Niger and Central African Republic (CAR).
Nineteen years ago, an estimated 970 million children were robbed of their childhood by life-changing events like child marriage, early pregnancy, exclusion from education, sickness, malnutrition and violent deaths.
That number today has been reduced to 690 million – meaning that at least 280 million children are better off today than they would have been two decades ago.Together, China and India account for more than half of the global decline in stunting alone.
Progress in many African countries has been too slow to keep up with population growth. As a result, though marriage rates have dropped, the absolute number of child brides has risen by more than 100,000 in eight countries.