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Child Mortality Rate Nearly Halved In Niger Since 1998, Analysis Shows

“Niger has nearly halved the death rate of children below five years old since 1998, a significant drop highlighting the benefits of free universal health care for children and pregnant women as well as increased donor funding for health,” according to a analysis published in the Lancet, IRIN reports. “The mortality rate reduced from 226 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1998 to 128 deaths in 2009, an annual rate of decline of 5.1 percent, said the study, noting that the slump bettered the fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to cut the child mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015,” as well as neighboring countries’ achievements, the news service notes. “Provision of insecticide-treated bednets, improved nutrition, giving vitamin A supplements, treatment of diarrhea, fevers, malaria, childhood pneumonia, and vaccinations also boosted child survival, the study found,” IRIN writes. Agbessi Amouzou, a co-author of the study, said, “The research demonstrates the success of the strategy implemented by the government and its partners, an important step toward the well-being of the Niger population,” according to the news service.

“However, [UNICEF] said in a recent statement that Niger had the greatest number of malnourished children in the Sahel region in 2012 and high levels of food insecurity,” according to IRIN (9/20). In addition, the charity organization Oxfam on Thursday said half a million people have been displaced in Niger because of the worst flooding in 80 years, the Associated Press reports, adding that the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) “estimates that more than 80 people were killed in the floods” (9/20).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.