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Analytical summary

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Under-five mortality rate (LDHS, Liberia demographic and health survey; LMIS, Liberia malaria indicator survey 2009

While still high, under-five mortality rate in Liberia has declined from 220 per 1000 live births in 1986 to 110 per 1000 live births in 2007 (see figure). Concurrently, infant mortality rate has declined from 144 deaths per 1000 live births in 1986 to 71 deaths per 1000 live births in 2007.

If progress continues in reducing malaria prevalence, accelerated scale-up in prevention and treatment of pneumonia and diarrhoea, improvement in newborn care, and increase in birth spacing, Liberia will likely achieve Millennium Development Goal 4.

Malaria prevalence in children has declined from 66% in 2005[1] to 32% in 2009[2] and access to prompt and effective treatment for malaria has increased. However, full immunization coverage remains inadequate (51%) and the HIV prevalence (1.5%)[3] poses a potential threat to the population.[4]

While progress has been made in child mortality reduction, maternal mortality ratio remains very high, with an estimated 994 deaths per 100 000 live births.[3] Only 37% of deliveries take place in a health facility (70% in Monrovia and 26% in rural areas), 30% of women who deliver do not receive any postpartum care and the adolescent pregnancy rate increased from 29 % in 2000 to 32% in 2007.[3]

Maternal mortality rate. (LDHS, Liberia demographic and health survey)[3]

In Liberia, the major causes of maternal death are:

  • haemorrhage (bleeding in pregnancy)
  • sepsis (infection) complicated by limited access to skilled delivery (46%)
  • limited or no access to emergency obstetric care
  • inadequate family planning services
  • a high teenage pregnancy rate (32%).

Malaria continues to be the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, followed by diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections. Other preventable problems commonly found in Liberia include tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, worms, skin diseases, undernutrition and anaemia.

The national HIV prevalence is currently estimated at 1.5% in the general population aged 15–49 years;[3] however, according to an antenatal sentinel surveillance survey conducted in 2008, the prevalence of HIV in pregnant women attending antenatal appointments in Liberia was 4%.

The 2008 WHO-estimated incidence rate for all forms of tuberculosis was 326 per 100 000, smear positives were 132 per 100 000 and the mortality estimate was 28 per 100 000. Results of epidemiological mapping of neglected tropical diseases show a wide distribution and overlap of onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis and leprosy in all 15 counties.

References

  1. Liberia malaria indicator survey, 2005. Monrovia, Government of Liberia, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, 2005
  2. Liberia malaria indicator survey, 2009 (pdf 1.04Mb). Monrovia, Government of Liberia, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services; and ICF Macro, Calverton, Maryland, 2009
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Liberia demographic and health survey 2007 (2.5Mb). Monrovia, Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare National AIDS Control Program and Macro International, 2008
  4. National population and housing census, 2008: preliminary results. Monrovia, Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), 2008