The child mortality rate in large parts of the west and north of Colombia is as high as in some parts of Africa’s most depressing regions, the country’s Health Ministry announced on Friday.
While in cities like Bogota 12 of every 1000 children under one die, the mortality rate in departments like Choco in the west of the country and La Guajira in the north is more than three times as high. “There, of all 1000 children that are born, 40 die before their first birthday,” Lenis Urquijo, director of Colombia’s Public Health department told Canal Caracol.
According to the government official, these figures are as high as in parts of Africa where hunger and the absence of health care causes the world’s highest number of deaths among babies.
“In Colombia there are departments and municipalities that have a child mortality rate that is much higher than the national average, with levels similar of countries with a lot less development,” Urquijo said.
The saddest thing of this high number of child deaths is that in most cases babies die of preventable causes, the Public Health director said. If authorities know to increase the coverage of vaccinations and mother deliver to these vaccination points on time, a lot of “unneccesary” deaths could be prevented. “Equally important is the care of expecting mothers,” the official added.