Mozambique has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world. Although much progress has been made and conditions are considerably better than they were 20 years ago, far too many children die every day from preventable illnesses.
Approximately 70 percent of Mozambique's population lives below the poverty line. For every 1,000 children born in Mozambique, an average of 104 will die, making infant mortality one of the most urgent problems facing the country today. According to UNICEF, around 86,000 newborn babies die before their first birthday, and an additional 38,000 die before the age of 5, the equivalent of almost 340 child deaths per day.
Preventable illnesses account for a large percentage of child deaths in Mozambique. Malaria contributes to more than a third of deaths among infants in the country, and other conditions such as acute respiratory infections, diarrhea and other diseases that are preventable with vaccinations also pose great risks.
Compounding the problem is malnutrition, which affects many mothers and children. According to UNICEF, 44 percent of children under age 5 in Mozambique are stunted. Nutritional deficiency plays a large part in the spread of disease, which in turn has a devastating effect on the east African nation's child mortality rate. Mozambique also has a high rate of HIV and AIDS infections; more than 1 million people have tested positive.
Without help, families in this struggling country will continue to lose children to preventable diseases.
According to UNICEF, around 40 percent of women in Mozambique become pregnant before the age of 20. Poor neonatal care and a lack of education place the lives of children and young mothers at risk. One of the best ways to reduce the rate of child mortality is by providing emergency obstetric care, especially in rural areas where access to health care is limited.
ChildFund has worked in Mozambique since 2005, providing mothers education focusing on pre- and postnatal care. We work to ensure that people in rural communities have access to nutritional information, enabling them to make good choices regarding their diets.
One of the best ways you can help ChildFund make a difference in Mozambique is by sponsoring a child. For about a dollar a day you can help a child at risk of disease and malnutrition receive access to lifesaving medications and basic education that give him or her a chance to live a rewarding and healthy life.
As such, providing emergency obstetric care to mothers is one of the best ways to reduce child mortality, especially in rural areas where access to even basic medical facilities is extremely limited.
Education is an important part of the fight against child poverty and death. Thanks to the aid and generosity of our supporters, ChildFund has been able to invest in Early Childhood Development Centers in Mozambique, where children receive developmental support in a safe environment.
"Children used to sit on the ground. We didn't have a blackboard or chalk," said Machava, a 32-year-old community leader who teaches Portuguese and math. "Also, they were exposed to bad people. Now they are safe and secure in the center."
To help us bring hope to the communities of Mozambique, please consider sponsoring a child or making a donation to our Children's Greatest Needs program.