Childhood Mortality Rates In Sub Saharan Africa

1515 words - 6 pages

Since World War II, Sub-Saharan Africa has seen notable improvements in child survival; however, childhood mortality conditions continue to lag behind. Ghana is said to be “an island of peace and stability” in the volatile landscape of Sub-Saharan West Africa; a success story of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (Atakpu, 2004). Its success has put Ghana as the leader in human development among the countries in that region. Although, the infant mortality rate and mortality rate of children under the age of five is still rather high compared to the rest of the world. This problem has ranked the country as 135th out of 177countries studied for human development by 2007-2008 United Nations Human Development Report. Since child mortality continues to be a major public health concern in this region, implementations of efficient programs, cooperation of health agencies and through the highest quality support of the World Health Organization, the goal of reducing childhood mortality can be efficiently and steadily accomplished.

History of the development problem and the root causes

Ghana’s development as a country has been on the rise in the last decade, with a democratic government in place, peaceful elections and a growing economy. However, when it comes to the healthcare of the country there is much needed room for improvement. Budgets allocations to the health sector have increased significantly according to some sources but despite the improvements maternal and child mortality appear not to have changed very much. Reduction in infant and child mortality during the 1970s through the early 1990s have either stagnated or reversed. Ghana’s relative success in economic development has made it one of the more favored countries in the Sub-Saharan region among the international community. Some of the causes of the high maternal and child mortality rate are due to the lack of basic health infrastructure and social amenities, lack of adequate health personnel, poverty and socio-cultural practices (Moses and Jingshan 2010).

The World Bank has been a major contributor financially in aiding Ghana (Goldsmith, 2001) and the country has received 37 million dollars per year from 2004 to 2007 from U.S. Agency for international development alone (USAID, 2008). Even though the country has received large amounts of money, the external debt that the country has acquired has kept money being spent on social services and instead is going towards paying off the debt. The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have allowed heavily indebted countries some debt relief which Ghana is one of them provided that they meet certain conditions (International Monetary Fund, 2008). This should have freed up resources to be spent on health, education and other social services but that is not evident in the reduction of the rate of infant and child mortality rate. Disparities do exist between regions and social classes, the richest which is comprised of 20...

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