UNICEF: Indonesia's infant mortality rate still high

Makassar (ANTARA News) - Indonesia`s infant mortality rate is still high although it showed a downward trend in the past few years, United Nations Children`s Fund (UNICEF) representative for Indonesia Angela Kearney said.

Based on a Unicef global child mortality report, over the past 10 years infant mortality rate declined significantly to 35 out of every 1,000 births in 2011 from 97 out of every 1,000 births in 1991, she said at workshop on household to hospital cantinuum care here on Thursday.

The achievement was inseparable from the central and regional government`s endeavors, she said.

After all, the results of a health demography survey showed 193 thousand children lost life chance every year before they reached the age of 5 years, she said.

In South Sulawesi alone, 17.3 out of every 1,000 newborns died before they reached the age of 28 days last year. Two-thirds of the deaths occurred on the first week of their life and one out of every four mothers gave birth to their children without the help of trained medical workers.

Mothers` poor access to health facilities posed one of the obstacles to the promotion of the nation`s health. One out of every five mothers came from poor families, she said.

She noted that a lack of infrastructures and equipment and the low number of trained medical workers had hindered the fulfillment of health services.

To deal with the challenge, the method of providing health services must be changed and the support of trained medical workers must be increased, she said.

"I am very happy to see UNICEF cooperating with the South Sulawesi provincial government to develop comprehensive approaches to overcome the shortcomings at social level and public health system at provincial health facilities," she said.