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Pointers to our health and demographic condition

Oct 1, 2015, 10:19 AM

The latest Gambia demographic and health survey carried out by the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBOS) have revealed a lot about our health condition in this country, especially on such infectious diseases as HIV and AIDS.

The 2013 report, the latest of such reports published, stated that HIV prevalence is high among divorced women - separated or widowed.It also stated that 1.9 per cent of Gambian adults age 15-49 are HIV-positive whilst 2.1 per cent of women and 1.7 per cent of men are HIV-positive.

It indicated that HIV prevalence is high in Mansakonko (2.9 per cent) and low in Banjul (1.1 per cent).

The report further revealed that infant mortality rate stood at 34 deaths per 1,000 live births and under 5 mortality rates at 54 deaths per 1,000 live births.

The report also gave some clear factors mainly contributing to this pattern of health condition and demographic situation.

For instance, it indicated that childhood mortality is lower among children of more educated mothers and those from wealthier households, while mortality is higher among children born less than 2 years after a previous birth.

These are really pointers showing that there are many gaps in the socio-economic drive of our society.

It ranges from the fact that broken marriages especially are contributing to the increase of HIV infection in our society, as increasing numbers of women and men continue to divorce, making most of such women vulnerable to HIV infection.

Furthermore, it also explains the fact that poverty and lack of education are playing a great role in exacerbating the spread of the disease in the country, and increase childhood mortality.

“Childhood mortality is lower among children of more educated mothers and those from wealthier households, while mortality is higher among children born less than 2 years after a previous birth,” the report stated.

So it is clear that decision makers do not need to look too far for the causative factors of the problems of our society and how to tackle them.

It is, therefore, interesting to note, as the report indicates, that the primary objective of the 2013 GDHS – Gambia Demographic and Health Survey - was to provide up-to-date information on fertility and family planning behaviour, child mortality, adult and maternal mortality, children’s nutritional status, maternal and child health, domestic violence, knowledge of HIV/AIDS, prevalence of HIV/AIDS, anaemia, and malaria.

More, therefore, needs to be done to improve our health condition and tackle some negative demographic issues.

“To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

Buddha

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