The lottery of birth
The lottery of birth

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The lottery of birth

2.1.3 Effects of specific incidents

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Figure 3 A health worker dressed in an anti-contamination suit speaks with a boy at a center for suspected Ebola patients, on 3 October 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.

It can be important to be able to look at the effects of additional acute problems on particular countries.

So, for example, where do the three countries that suffered most in the Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia rank in relation to the rest of African in terms of infant mortality? Sierra Leone already had the highest infant mortality in Africa in 2013 and this is actually the highest in the world.

The Ebola outbreak was particularly devastating in Sierra Leone. Ebola, a highly contagious haemorrhagic disease, severely damaged the country’s health care system as it killed many health care workers (in a country where there was already a lack of health care workers). Laboratories were put out of action and fears of contagion kept people, including pregnant women and parents of young children, away from clinics and hospitals.

Non-health-related disasters can also show in the data. The earthquake in Haiti has had a clear impact on the infant mortality rate. If you look the country up on the Child mortality map [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , you can see infant mortality decreasing from 1990 to 2005 but then it goes back up in 2010 and decreases again 2013.

In the next section, you will read some recent analysis on maternal and infant mortality rates from Save the Children.

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