Milestone as Kenya records 30,000 less deaths among children under five years


Study shows figure is down from over 35,000 deaths

Tuesday November 05 2019

Over the past decade, there has been an overall decrease in the mortality rate of children under five years in the country, a new study has shown.

The study, conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, has shown the number of children in Kenya who have died before they reach the age of five were 59,914.

This figure is down from 96,909 deaths in 2000. “Neonatal disorders were the biggest cause of the deaths, with the highest sub-county mortality rate for 2017 recorded in Nyatike constituency of Migori County while the lowest was in Saku constituency in Marsabit County. A decrease in child deaths from HIV and Aids accounted for almost a third of the decline in deaths during the study period,” the report stated.

The report, which details the study mapping child deaths over almost two decades, further found that the likelihood of a child reaching the age of five varied more than three-fold among sub-counties in Kenya. Director of the Local Burden of Disease group at IHME, Dr Simon Hay, however, noted that despite major gains in reducing child deaths over the past 20 years, the highest rates of death in 2017 were still largely concentrated in areas and regions where rates were highest in 2000.

“It is as reprehensible as it is tragic that, on average, nearly 15,000 children under the age of five die every day. Why are some areas doing so well, while others struggle? In order to make progress, we need to enable precise targeting of interventions, such as vaccines,” he added.

In 2000, an estimated 970 million children had been robbed of their childhood globally due to “childhood enders”.