6 Reduce child mortality

Where are we?

An infant in an incubator at a new UNDP rehabilitated hospital in Fallujah. Photo by Jamal Penjweny/UNDP Iraq 2013.

This indicator measures child survival. It also reflects the social, economic and environmental conditions in which children (and others in society) live, including their health care.

The mortality rate for children under ­five in Iraq has declined signi­ficantly. Infant mortality has decreased from 50 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 35 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006, and in 2011, there were approximately 32 deaths per 1,000 live births. However, this still remains almost double the 2015 target of 17 deaths per 1,000 live births. Results from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey show that the infant mortality is higher for males than for females, reaching 36 deaths per 1,000 live births of boys against 30 for girls. In addition, mortality rates of children under-five in urban areas are significantly less than children in rural areas with 35 versus 42 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively.[1] The results also indicate that mortality rates are also related to the level of education of the mother. Children born to mothers with no education face a higher risk of death before their first birthday than those born to mothers who have secondary or higher education.

Immunization is an essential component for reducing under-five mortality. Measles immunization rates among infants have deteriorated from 90% in 2009 to 75.4% in 2011. Dahuk, Missan and Kirkuk have the highest rates of immunization, averaging 92%.  Based on the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), the percentage of children who received the full package of vaccinations at the age of 12 months is 45 percent[2]

[1] Preliminary Findings Report: Fourth Round of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS-4):IRAQ -2012

[2] According to WHO guidelines, children are considered fully immunized if they received three doses of DPT vaccine to protect against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus; three doses of polio vaccine (OPV 1,2,3), one dose of tuberculosis vaccine (BCG), and one dose of measles vaccine at the age of 12 months.

UNDP's work in Iraq

  • Photo by UNDP Iraq 2013


Targets for MDG4
  1. Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five
    • Under-five mortality rate
    • Infant mortality rate
    • Proportion of 1 year-old children immunised against measles