Angola

Angola: Infant mortality rates among world's highest

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JOHANNESBURG, 19 July (IRIN) - Infant mortality rates in Angola are currently among the highest in the world, a UNICEF spokesman in Geneva told IRIN on Monday.
The recent Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Fund said that infant mortality rates per 1,000 live births in Angola currently stood at 170, with the under-five mortality rate at 292 per 1,000 live births. It added that 19 percent of all children were born with a low birth weight. Angola was ranked 160 out of 174 nations surveyed in the UN's Human Development Index.

But the spokesman said the number of children dying before their fifth birthday was increasing, and that nearly 40 percent of the nation's children "severely underweight".

"A lack of an adequate clean water supplies and insufficient immunisation facilities are all part of the problem," he said. The spokesman added that another important reason for the high infant
mortality rate was that the number of women breast-feeding babies had declined. "They are too weak and mother's milk is the best source of nutrition for newly born babies," he said.

Meanwhile an anti-polio campaign involving an estimated 2.7 million children was launched at the weekend. The programme is intended to immunise children up to the age of five.

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