Maputo — Infant mortality fell by more than half in Mozambique between 2003 and 2011, according to statistics given by President Armando Guebuza on Thursday.
During his State of the Nation Address to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, Guebuza said that mortality among children less than a year old dropped from 124 to 64 deaths per 100,000 live births between the two dates.
There was a similar decline in the under-five mortality rate which fell from 178 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2003, to 97 in 2011.
Guebuza could also report a continuing decline in malaria cases and deaths.
There were two million cases reported in the first six months of 2011, but only about 1.8 million cases in the January-June period this year – a decline of 11 per cent. He added that in the first six months of 2012 there was a 19 per cent decline in malaria deaths compared with the same period the previous year.
Contributing to these results, said Guebuza, were the distribution of more than two million mosquito nets, spraying homes against mosquitoes, and better sanitation.
Over the past year, the government had improved access to clean water through the construction or rehabilitation of more than 3,000 water sources. According to the latest statistics, 64 per cent of the rural population and 72 per cent of the urban population now has access to safe water.
There had also been a sharp expansion in the electricity grid. Guebuza said there had been over 150,000 new connections to the grid, which was an increase of 17 per cent in the total number of people receiving power from the grid. 37 per cent of the Mozambican population now has access to electricity either from the grid, or from solar panels.
As for telecommunications, the number of Mozambicans with mobile phones has continued to grow rapidly. Guebuza said the number of mobile phone users has grown from “almost eight million in 2011, to much more than nine million in 2012”.