1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Infant mortality refers to the death of a child born alive before its first birthday and child mortality is the death of a child aged between one and five years. Demographers have for a long time been interested in the study of mortality which is one of the components of population change. Infant and child mortality are among the best indicators of socioeconomic development because a society life expectancy at birth is determined by the survival chance of infants and children.
Childhood mortality is an important indicator of all heath programs and policies; likewise it contributes to population projection. Childhood mortality measures also help identify specific population that are at increase in health risk. Several measures of childhood mortality are calculated using Demographic Health Survey (DHS) data. During the twentieth century almost all countries experienced decreases in child mortality rate. However, the timing and pace of the decline varied substantially. Sustained reductions in child mortality began in the nineteenth century in Europe, North America, and Japan and continued gradually throughout the twentieth century. Major declines in other parts of the world generally began only after World War II.
Mortality reductions in Asia, Latin America and Africa were usually much more rapid that they had been in countries that began mortality declines earlier. By 1999 there were great variations in child mortality among countries for example, although less than 0.5 percent of children died before the fifth birthday in Iceland, more than 33 percent died by age five in Niger. Since the 1960s the decline in child mortality sometimes has appeared to have stagnated as was the period from 1975– 1985, when many poor countries experienced severe crises and other problems such as economic recovery from the 0.1 crisis of 1973 – 1974. Recent evidence suggests that child mortality has continued to decline in most countries since 1980. However, during the 1990s the HIV/AIDS epidemic halted or reversed declines in child mortality in some eastern and southern African countries. For example, in Zimbabwe in the period 1990 – 1994 there were 50 deaths under age five per 1,000 live births.
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STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF INFANT AND CHILD MORTALITY RATE