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Fewer children under five years are dying – new survey

The recently released 2022 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) indicates a significant reduction in child and infant mortality rates.

Conducted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos), the report reveals that the under-five mortality rate has declined from 64 per 1,000 live births to 52 per 1,000 live births in 2022.

“Infant mortality has dropped from 43 per 1,000 live births in 2016 to 36 in 2022. Neonatal mortality has also decreased from 27 to 22 per 1,000 live births in the same period,” the report states.

Additionally, the report highlights a marked reduction in pregnancy-related mortality ratios, from 368 to 228 mothers per 100,000 live births.

According to Dr Chris Mukiza, the executive director of Ubos, the survey aims to provide current estimates on a range of topics, including marriage, family planning, sexual activity, maternal and child health, domestic violence and more. Data was collected over six months from 136 districts, focusing on women aged 15-49, men aged 15-54, and children aged 0-59 months.

Since 1988, Uganda has been conducting these surveys every five years. The 2022 survey serves as a follow-up to the 2016 iteration. It also indicates a drop in the fertility rate from 5.4% to 5.2% and an increase in the use of modern contraceptives among married women.

Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the minister of Health, emphasized the need for priority indicators to address urgent health needs effectively. She cited limited funding as a significant challenge, noting, “The health workforce is still a problem, and health education and promotion need to be intensified.”

She argued that planning without reliable health data would be akin to “health suicide.” According to Dr Aceng, UDHS indicators are crucial for the development of better health systems, where patients are treated with dignity, and preventative measures can control the spread of contagious diseases.

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