Newborn deaths, approximately 29 deaths per 1000 live births according to the latest MICS, account for approximately 42% of all under 5 child deaths. A closer analysis of this data shows that complications due to prematurity are the leading cause of death. According to WHO global data, Zimbabwe ranks 4th in the world in terms of rates of preterm births, roughly 16.6 pre-term births per 100 live births. Around 14,000 neonates die every year, mainly from preventable causes. The rate of decline of these key indicators leaves the country off track to meet many of the targets set by the sustainable development goals by 2030.
High coverages of standard maternal health packages such as antenatal care (93%), institutional deliveries (78%) skilled birth attendance (80%) and post-natal check within two days (57%) are indications that access to care is improving. However, the stagnating mortality rates imply that there is still much to be done in terms of the equitable provision of quality maternal and child services. Discrepancies exist in access to and provision of services between rural and urban populations.