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Even as the world enters the record of having registered the highest human population of 7 billion individuals as compared to previous statistics, the problem of infant mortality remains a mysterious challenge to a number of countries. Infant mortality refers to a number of deaths recorded in a given country during the first year of life per 1,000 live births. These deaths are attributed to certain causes which vary from one country to another. The essay focuses on the countries with high infant mortality rates, such as Afghanistan, Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic and Guinea Bissau, in order to examine the distinct factors that contribute to the high-rate neonatal deaths in these nations.
Countries with the Highest Rates of Infant Mortality
A significant number of countries in the world are grappling with the challenge of infant mortality to a level that threatens the population growth of the entire country. Afghanistan is so far the most affected among the five leading countries with alarming rate of deaths among the infants. According to the 2015 world population estimates, the Republic of Afghanistan records 115.08 deaths per 1000 live births every year (Szirmai 203). The trend of infant mortality is indeed worrying and, unless expeditious remedial steps are administered promptly, the country stands at a risk of experiencing inverse population growth as opposed to other countries. In addition, the alarming death rates among children are related to Mali whose infant mortality is 102.23, Somalia, 98.39, Central African Republic, with 90.63, and finally, Guinea Bissau, which stands at 89.21 (Szirmai 203). Other than Afghanistan that is an Asian state, the ensuing four nations are African states. This factor shows that African population is at risk of extinction as indicated by these countries with competitive rates of infant mortality.
Reasons Influencing Infant Mortality in These Countries
According to the world population statistics, high infant mortality results from a number of factors working together or sparingly. The most prevalent causes are obviously abject poverty among the communities that depict inordinate trends of deaths as well as ignorance due to poor educational standards in those countries. Similarly, there are other minor factors which are unique to countries that are largely affected by the menace. One of them is mid-wifely superstitions (Szirmai 198). These are beliefs about expectancy, which most communities in the cited countries still hold onto, though such misbeliefs do not have any scientific background. For instance, some communities still believe in delivery at home, yet there are numerous health care centers and hospitals that could serve that purpose. These misconceptions perpetuated in light of following their own primitive cultural and or religious customs which discourage therapeutic delivery services.
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Apart from that, some communities in the aforementioned countries still experience poor conditions of labor among the expectant mothers. Such circumstances could be embodied in the type of diet that expectant mothers follow during pregnancy or the sedentary lifestyle, which does not allow physical fitness. These women usually experience still births more often than others in this population group. Unfortunately, this situation has nearly been accepted as a given among the affected countries.
Finally, the insanitary conditions in homes and environment contribute greatly to the high rates of infant mortality. Actually, many communities, especially from Third-World nations, use crude tools and equipment during and after delivery of infants. Oblivious of the consequences, some of the equipment commonly causes deleterious effects to the infants, including hemorrhage or excessive bleeding, such ailments as Tetanus among others which are fatal in nature. Other environments contain heaps of garbage as well as stagnant water from which environmental illnesses, such as cholera, bilharzias and dysentery emanate claiming many lives of infants.
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Therefore, there is a close relationship between the high rates of infant mortality and the living standards in the discussed countries. The situation denotes the inefficiency of the incumbent governments of those nations in improving facilities that would better the living standards. Infant mortality can be averted if the aforementioned causes are dealt with squarely by the government agencies of the affected countries. In particular, education and medical settings should be given a first priority in resolving the menace.
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