Kampala & Addis Top East African Cities Closing Child Survival Gap Between Rich And Poor

Thursday 7 May 2015


Kampala, May 5 - Kampala has made significant strides in saving the lives of children despite rapid urban growth, reveals Save the Children’s 16th annual State of the World’s Mothers (SOWM) report. This is alongside the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The report, The Urban Disadvantage, evaluates the devastating health disparities between the rich and poor living in 50 major urban hubs around the world, but also highlights a number of capital cities in developing countries making significant survival gains for even the poorest mothers and children.

These cities are Kampala, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia); Guatemala City (Guatemala); Manila (Philippines); Phnom Penh (Cambodia); and Cairo (Egypt).

The report says that in Kampala, despite hosting a large number of refugees, mostly from DR Congo and South Sudan, under-five mortality declined at an average rate of seven percent in the space of six years, from 94 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006 to 65 in 2011. This is one of the fastest declines seen among the 50 cities surveyed, and the fastest seen in any capital city in Africa.

In Addis, the under-five mortality rate has dropped dramatically by more than half (53 percent) between 2000–2011, with child death rates among the poorest 20 percent of urban children in Ethiopia as a whole falling by more than 40 percent over the same period.

‘The evidence suggests Kampala and Addis have achieved relative success in narrowing the child survival gap between the urban rich and poor. Both Kampala and Addis are home to slums, like any big city in the world where the population grows year on year, but the key to success for both has been in working to strengthen their health systems, making healthcare more accessible and affordable to the poorest urban families, increasing maternal and pediatric health awareness and family planning, and helping to provide life-saving interventions for many such as immunisation, vitamin supplements, safe drinking water, and prenatal check-ups,’ says Save the Children Health Advisor Dr. Sarah Naikoba.

Of those surveyed, the 10 countries showing the greatest survival gap between wealthy and poor urban children are: Rwanda, Cambodia, Kenya, Vietnam, Peru, India, Madagascar, Ghana, Bangladesh and Nigeria.

‘The survival of millions of children in cities should not be a privilege for the rich but guaranteed for all, and we need to do more to make sure that all mothers and babies have a fair chance of survival and a healthy, thriving life – no matter where they live,’ says Dr. Naikoba.

The SOWM report also ranks the best and worst places in the world to be a mother. Uganda has come 141st out of the 179 countries surveyed. The Scandinavian countries of Norway, Finland, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden top the list, while the worst place to be a mother is Somalia, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Mali and Niger.