Health and Nutrition

Child Health and Nutrition


Survival of Newborns & Mothers

©UNICEFNamibia/2008/John Isaac

To keep mothers and babies alive and healthy.

Women of child bearing age and newborns.

In Namibia the maternal mortality rate has almost doubled since 2000 and is now 200 deaths per 100 000 live births. Neonatal mortality is also high (19 deaths per 1000 live births) accounting for 52% of under 5 mortality. HIV AIDS is implicated in 59% of maternal deaths and 14% of infant deaths.
The underlying causes of maternal and neonatal deaths are var-ied and include the lack of skilled personnel, as well as the long distances and delays in seeking care. Immediate causes for neonatal deaths are preterm (39%), birth asphyxia (25%) and infection in newborn (29%).

A national assessment of maternal and newborn care services in 2006 helped identify gaps and inform the development of a National Plan (Road Map for Reduction of Maternal and Newborn Mortality 2009–2014). Of the 100 health facilities assessed only 4 were providing the full range of comprehensive services. No facilities in the populous northern regions could provide emergency life saving interventions.

Sixty three percent of maternal deaths were recorded from 4 regions in the north. This proposal will address strategic objective 1 of the National Road Map: Provision of quality maternal and newborn health services at all levels of the health delivery system including strengthening referral systems.

Data sources: HIV Sentinel Surveillance 2006, 2008; DHS 2006/7; Population Projections 2003; MoHSS Need Assessment of Emergency Obstetric Care 2006;MoHSS Road Map for accelerating the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality.

By the end of 2018, 85 per cent of mothers, adolescents and children under 5, especially the most vulnerable populations in remote and urban areas, will be benefiting from access to integrated health care services.

Indicator: Percent of Primary Health Care budget (within over-all MoHSS budget) 

Indicator: Scorecard for Child Survival Strategy regularly monitored and reported

UNICEF in Action

In Namibia, neonatal mortality is high. One in every 60 babies dies in their first month of life and neonatal mortality accounts for half of all infant deaths and more than half of under-five deaths.The country’s rate of maternal deaths, which has a direct bearing on the survival of newborns and young children, has more than doubled since 2000.

UNICEF tackles neonatal mortality within a broader approach to improve access to integrated health services at community and facility levels. The aim is to provide 85 per cent of mothers, newborns and children with access to integrated health services by 2018. Working with the Ministry of Health and Social Services to increase national spending on primary health care and monitoring the implementation of the 2014–2018 Child Survival Strategy are also priorities.

Read the fact-sheet on Newborn Care





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