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[Child mortality in the developing countries of Africa] Smertnost detei v razvivaiushchikhsia stranakh Afriki.
SOVETSKOE ZDRAVOOKHRANENIE. 1989; (3):58-63.Infant mortality statistics in developing African countries are reviewed. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) surveys, there was an overall decrease in infant mortality from 1960-1986, although the infant mortality rate in the African region remains higher than in other WHO regions (119.4, compared with 40.6 in the European region, 11.8 in the Eastern Mediterranean region, 110.2 in the South- Eastern Asia, 49.7 in the American Region, and 44.5 in the Western part of the Pacific ocean). In infants younger than 28 days old, mortality is associated with pregnancy and labor complications, congenital birth defects, and birth trauma. In Algeria, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, 70-90% of all deaths were caused by tetanus (70-80% of African women give birth at home without any medical help). In a 1 month to 1 year old age group, the leading cause of mortality is diarrhea (52% in Sudan, 29.2% in Sierra Leone); other causes of death are measles (15.8%), acute respiratory diseases (14.3%), malaria (8.5%), and infectious meningitis (6%). In a 1-4 years old age group, leading cause of mortality is nutritional deficiencies (9%). In addition to medical causes, infant mortality is also associated with a number of socioeconomic factors: insufficient nutrition of mothers, heavy physical work during pregnancy, young age of mothers and short interval between pregnancies, lack of proper medical care during pregnancy and labor, and early switching to infant formula not following proper hygienic recommendations.