Africa's tragedy: the highest level of infant mortality

English Section / 15 mai

Africa's tragedy: the highest level of infant mortality

Versiunea în limba română

Sub-Saharan African countries occupy 9 of the top 10 countries with the highest infant mortality rate per thousand live births on the world map, according to an analysis by the CIA and picked up by Visual Capitalist and Zerohedge.

Infant mortality rates are generally regarded as the barometer of the general health of the population. A higher rate indicates unmet needs of a population, particularly in terms of food availability and sanitation.

Afghanistan currently has the highest infant mortality rate in the world, with 103 deaths per 1,000 births. Decades of conflict have pushed the country to the brink, and a prolonged drought in 2021 has hampered access to food. Meanwhile, 14 countries in the top 20 are from sub-Saharan Africa. Some of them face, in addition to internal problems, dysfunctional state mechanisms and high rates of malnutrition. While this is worrying, the infant mortality rate in Africa as a whole has improved enormously over the past seven decades. Between 1950-2024, the average on the continent fell by 73%, to 41 deaths per 1,000 births.

Expanding healthcare, improving nutrition, access to clean drinking water and mass immunization programs are some of the reasons behind this massive decline. Estimates suggest that Africa's infant mortality rate will further improve to 25 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2050, which would equal the rate seen today in Asia.

Romania, according to CIA statistics, ranks 172 out of 227 countries in the world, with an estimated infant mortality rate for children under one year of age for the year 2024 of 5.5 per 1000 inhabitants, a number below some Central European countries and of the East (Moldova - 13.8; Croatia - 8.4; Cyprus - 8.1; Bulgaria - 7.7; North Macedonia - 7), but over Poland - 4.9, Hungary - 4.7, Serbia - 4.5, Greece - 3.4, Austria - 3.2, Czech Republic -2.6, Slovenia -1.5.