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Large households linked to deaths of children under five


Child deaths: Large households blamed

Key factors leading to high child mortality rates include air pollution, unclean water, poor sanitation, large household sizes and environmental degradation

Children under the age of five in Africa are more likely to die due to a degraded environment and increasing population density, a report has shown.

Some of the key factors found to affect high child mortality rates include air pollution, unclean water, poor sanitation, large household sizes and environmental degradation.

According to World Health Organisation, an estimated 5.6 million children under five years died in 2016 and in Sub-Saharan Africa one in 13 children die before turning five.

The researchers analysed data to explain the correlation between increased child mortality, environmental degradation and the population density of all mainland countries across Africa. “Our research highlights there is a direct correlation between child deaths, population density and environmental degradation so they no longer have a reason to do so with this new evidence,” said paediatrician professor Peter Le Souëf from UWA’s Medical School.

The study provides the first empirical evidence that large households are linked to worsening child health outcomes in developing nations.

Increase in population in most African countries has placed pressure on infrastructure and the environment. This in turn affects children’s health outcome.

The results suggest that environmental degradation is already at a point where it has compromised food production, water, air quality, or protection against infectious disease.

The researchers also emphasised the importance of continued investment in clean water and sanitation services, measures to improve air quality, broad-scale family planning and efforts to restrict further environmental degradation.

In 2000, an estimated 970 million children had been robbed of their childhood globally.