Report: Zim infant mortality rate declines

Zimbabwe’s infant mortality rate has declined since 1999, owing to measures to fight HIV, Harare’s Herald newspaper reported on Monday.

Its website said the rate dropped from 102 to 82 deaths for every 1 000 births.

This comes at a time when the country has reduced its HIV prevalence rate from 20,1% to 18,1% in the age groups of child-bearing women.

Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa said the latest Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey showed the country had managed to cut down on children’s deaths in the past six years.

“We are very happy about this for it shows that some of our efforts are paying off,” he said.

Testing for HIV prior to falling pregnant, as well as during pregnancy, and opting for the prevention-of-mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme, had been major contributions to healthy children.

Under the PMTCT programme, a drug is administered to a mother during labour while the child is also given the same drug at birth to minimise their chances of getting infected with the virus.

“More and more people are choosing to know their HIV status before having babies unlike in the past,” the minister said.

Antiretroviral treatment for children is also now available in the country—a factor that has seen many HIV-positive children surviving beyond the age of five.—Sapa

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