Tuesday, 22 January 2008


number 321

From a BBC report quoting some figures from UNICEF's publication The State of the World's Children.

Child mortality is at its lowest in Sweden, at its highest in Sierra Leone.

In Sweden there are 3 deaths per 1,000 children under five.
In industrialised nations there are 6 deaths per 1000 under five.
In Sierra Leone there are 270 deaths per 1000 under five.

In Sweden, 1 in 17,400 mothers die in childbirth.
In the UK, 1 in 8,200 mothers die in childbirth.
In Sierra Leone, 1 in 8 mothers die in childbirth.

In Sweden there are 320 doctors per 100,000 people
In the UK there are 230 doctors per 100,000 people.
In Sierra Leone there are 2 doctors per 100,000 people.


  1. These are figures that graphically illustrate the terrible waste of life in the poor countries.

    They also appear to show that the number of doctors in a country is in inverse proportion to the need. After all healthy people don't need doctors.

  2. These are appalling numbers. I'm glad you posted them, A., though I sure wish there was no need to do so. :-(

    Thanks for the links, too. I downloaded the U.N. report. The statistics may be useful in my teaching.

    There's plenty of reason for those of us in the U.S. to be ashamed of these figures. Our international family planning policy is crippled by the gag order that prevents U.S. aid from going to any health service providers that deal with abortion (however tangentially). And we can't even get our own house in order. The lifetime risk of death in childbirth is 1 in 4800 here, more than three times that of Sweden. Much of this discrepancy is due to the risks that poor women of color face. It's a disgrace.

  3. True on both counts, LR. Interesting though that many of the causes of child deaths could be prevented without medical intervention. For instance provision of impregnated bed nets and clean drinking water.

    Hello Sungold. They are indeed appalling numbers, some of them real eye-openers. The risk of death in childbirth for the US was something I just hadn't realised.

  4. as a sierra leonean, this breaks my heart immensely.

  5. Yes, it's not fair. We do have excellent child care here in Sweden. Though we also do a lot for other countries luckily. We're a small country but we do a lot that other bigger countries aren't...

    Though the figures for how many doctors we have I must comment like this: I'd rather take less doctors if they were better than the ones we have today. It's not so much at the hospitals I mean, it's at our local health clinics the bad ones are. Or, they're not allowed to be good by all the restrictions they have.


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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