By Ndey Sowe

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 6 (MICS6) 2018 of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has disclosed that the death of children less than five months, is higher in rural Gambia.

He went on to say that the Under 5 months mortality rate is at 57 percent per 1,000 live births, with mortality rates higher in rural communities at 64 deaths per 1,000 live births.

According to the report, the prevalence of stunting in children 0-59 months is at 19 percent. Stunting is higher in rural areas at 22 percent than in urban communities where it is recorded at 17 percent. Stunting as stipulated in the report is indicated to be higher in the following Local Government Areas: Kuntaur with 26.6 percent; Janjanbureh with 24.3 percent and Kerewan with 20.8 percent, compared to 16.6 percent in Banjul and 14.4 percent in Kanifing.

The survey provides approximately 170 key indicators about women and children on health, nutrition, education, water, reproductive health and child protection. Among these, 35 are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators.

MICS is a household survey developed by UNICEF to assist communities in filling data gaps for monitoring the situation of families and households especially children and women. It is also a key source of data on child protection, early childhood education, child health, and nutrition for the country’s decision and policymakers.

The objective of the report is to facilitate the timely dissemination and use of results from the Gambia’s MICS which contains detailed information on the survey methodology and standard MICS tables. The report is accompanied by a series of statistical snapshots of the main findings of the survey. The sixth round of the MICS6 for the Gambia was carried out in 2018 by the Gambia Bureau of Statistic (GBoS) with technical support from UNICEF, as part of the Global MICS Program.

During the launch of the report, Fatou Kinteh, the Minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare said in the Gambia, the first MICS was conducted in 1996; that the Gambia participated in all rounds of MICSS except the fifth one which coincided with the conduct of the first-ever Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted in 2013.

Sandra Lattouf, the UNICEF Representative said in the health sector under SDG 3, there is decline in under 5 mortality contrary to the increase in neonatal mortality, with rural communities and poor households bearing the brunt of the disparities.

A key report from the findings shows that the under 5s and infant, child and neonatal mortality rates have in general, decreased over the past fifteen years.

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