Reduce child mortality

Tracking Progress

South Africa has done extremely well since the turn of the century in increasing the proportion of 1 year-old children immunised against measles, and the general immunisation coverage of infants (under one year of age). Projecting current trends, both of these initiatives will reach their respective MDGs by 2015. In addition, trends show a decrease from 2001 to 2008 in the number of children with low birth weight (a weight less than 60% of their estimated 'normal' weight for their age).

From a policy perspective South Africa has been proactive in ensuring that the necessary policies and implementation strategies are in place to reduce under-five mortality in the form of prevention of malnutrition and intensification of immunisation coverage, as well as access to free health care facilities. However, while the interventions in health are strong and hold promise for stabilising infant mortality, they are not sufficient to reduce under-five mortality rates. Consequently evidence point to near doubling of under-five mortality rate in a space of nine years and a constant, albeit at a high plateaux, infant mortality rate over a six year period. The target set for South Africa of 20 deaths per thousand live births or lower by 2015 compares adversely with the current level of 104.

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