n South African Journal of Child Health - Reducing neonatal deaths in South Africa - are we there yet, and what can be done? : hot topics

Volume 6, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1994-3032
  • E-ISSN: 1999-7671



In the year 2000, 189 member countries of the United Nations committed themselves to eight goals towards the development and well-being of their nations. These goals are called Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). The fourth goal (MDG4) aims to reduce the mortality rate in children under the age of 5 years (U5MR) by two thirds between 1990 and 2015. Infants less than 1 month old account for about 40% of deaths of children under the age of 5 years globally. Achieving MDG4 will therefore need to include reducing deaths during the neonatal period. The goal of reducing U5MR by two thirds for neonatal deaths in South Africa meant reducing the neonatal mortality rate (NMR) from 21/1 000 live births in 1998 to 7/1 000 by 2015. In order to achieve this, all neonatal deaths need to be scrutinsed by focusing on mortality rates and pathological and health system causes of neonatal deaths. Of paramount importance, however, would be looking at interventions that could impact significantly on reducing these deaths. In this article we discuss the mortality rates in South Africa, the rest of the world and Africa, and discuss causes and interventions that can be implemented to reduce these deaths in South Africa.

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