The infant mortality rate has declined in the past 15 years, the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) says.
IRR analyst Tawanda Makombo said a study by his organisation had found between 2002 and 2017 the rate had fallen by 32 percent to its lowest in almost two decades.
“This improvement aligns with a sharp increase in the rate of first visits by pregnant women.”
Makombo said the drop which measured the deaths of infants under 1-year per 1 000 live births in a year coincided with a 96 percent improvement in the rate of first visits to the clinic by pregnant women since 2006.
“The rate of antenatal first visits measures the proportion of pregnant women who visit antenatal clinics for the first time before 20 weeks of their pregnancy over the number of women who had at least one antenatal visit before delivery.
The institute said between 2002 and 2017, the infant mortality rate decreased from 48.1 per 1 000 live births to 32.8.
Makombo said the statistics revealed gains in the health sector but there more needed to be done to further curb infant deaths.
“The Department of Health must intensify public awareness efforts, and persuade more pregnant women to visit health practitioners for regular check-ups before and after giving birth, as this is essential for their babies’ health.”
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