Dar es Salaam. Infant and under-five mortality in Tanzania has declined significantly in the last 25 year, according to a new report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey and Malaria Indicators Survey (TDHS-MIS), which was unveiled yesterday in Dar es Salaam by the Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, shows that infant mortality has declined from 92 deaths in every 1,000 live births in 1991/92 to 43 deaths in every 1,000 live births in 2015/16.
Similarly, under-five mortality has declined from 141 to 67 deaths in every 1,000 children during the same period.
The survey also found out that more children died in urban areas in Tanzania Mainland (87 deaths per 1,000 live births) than in rural areas (76 deaths).
In Zanzibar, 56 children in every 1,000 live births died before the age of five.
The survey shows that children born to mothers with no education are more likely to die before the age of five than those whose mothers have secondary or higher education.
“There are 83 deaths of children born to mothers with no education compared to 60 deaths of children born to mothers with at least secondary education per every 1,000 live births,” the report says.
On maternal health care, the report says almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of births occurred in health facilities, primarily public health centres, dispensaries and hospitals.
Thirty-six per cent of births took place at home, and most involved uneducated women in rural areas.
“Nearly half of births in 2004/5 took place in health facilities compared to 63 per cent in 2015/16.”
Also surveyed was basic vaccination coverage during the same period, which showed that 75 per cent of children between 12 and 23 months received the required immunisation.
Vaccination rates improved with household wealth, from 65 per cent among children from the poorest households to 83 per cent from the wealthiest families.
Vaccination rates increased with mothers’ education, with children in urban areas likely to have received all the required vaccinations compared to their rural counterparts.
Vaccination coverage has increased slightly from 71 to 75 per cent in the past 25 years.
“It is lowest in Katavi (54 per cent) and highest in Kilimanjaro with a record of 93 per cent,” the report says.
According to the report, 14 per cent of children aged between six and 59 months tested positive for malaria. Those highest at risk were from poor rural families, where the prevalence was 18 per cent against four per cent in urban areas.
The highest malaria prevalence was in Kagera Region with 41 per cent, followed by Kigoma and Geita with 38 per cent each.
Ms Mwalimu said in her speech that the government was committed to slashing the current mortality rates by half by 2030 as part of efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She added that the findings would help the government improve health care delivery across the country.
“These findings will play a key role in helping us to improve our policies and identify priority areas.”