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More babies survive

Serelisoni Moceica
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

FIJI's infant mortality rate has decreased substantially over the years.

A report, Children in children in Fiji 2011: An atlas of social indicators, launched last week stated there were 56 deaths per 1000 live births in 1960, 19 in 2000 and 15 in 2010.

"Fiji performs relatively well in comparison to other Pacific island countries. Only Cook Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga achieved lower infant mortality rates in 2010 than Fiji," the report stated.

This trend could be attributed to the progress in health services and immunisation programs for the children, it said.

"The proportion of infants under the age of one year who have been vaccinated increased from 86 per cent in 1990 to 93.9 per cent in 2008," the report said.

However, it said the Health Ministry encountered problems in maintaining the cold chain system through health care clinics and rural nursing stations, particularly in remote areas.

"Ministry of Health figures for 2010 ù collected through the Public Health Information System ù indicate that coverage rates for most vaccines were well below the 90 per cent rate needed for effective high population immunity."

The report also stated the Eastern Division recorded the highest infant mortality rate between 2005 and 2008, which dropped significantly in 2009 with the Northern Division recording the highest at the same period.

The ministry stated the major causes of infant mortalities included birth defects, inadequate oxygen supply to babies at birth, blood poisoning, underweight, congenital syphilis and geographical location where quick medical assistance was unavailable when there were complications during pregnancy and childbirth.





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