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September 23, 2014 
Liberia Demographic and Health Survey shows a decline in childhood deaths and improvements in maternal health care

Monrovia, Liberia: The formal release of the 2013 Liberia Demographic and Health Survey (LDHS) has been delayed due to the spread of the Ebola Virus throughout the Republic of Liberia. Since the 2007 LDHS, Liberia has made progress in a number of key health indicators. The 2013 LDHS, the fourth DHS survey in Liberia, provides the Government of Liberia, international partners, and other data users, including civil societies, academics, and public and private institutions, with reliable and up-to-date statistics on the health and welfare of Liberians.

The 2013 LDHS highlights a decline in childhood deaths. The 2013 mortality rate for children under five is 94 deaths per 1,000 live births, a decline from 222 deaths per 1,000 live births reported in the 1986 LDHS. At the current mortality level, one in every 11 Liberian children dies before reaching his or her fifth birthday.

The 2013 LDHS shows important successes in maternal health. Almost all Liberian women (96%) receive prenatal care from a skilled provider (doctor, nurse, midwife, or physician's assistant), a substantial increase from 79% in 2007. The proportion of women giving birth at health facilities and women receiving delivery assistance has also improved since 2007. More than half of births occur in health facilities, primarily in public sector facilities. Six in ten births in Liberia are assisted by a skilled provider.

The results of the 2013 LDHS indicate that 1.9% of adults age 15-49 in Liberia are living with HIV. HIV prevalence is slightly higher among women (2.0%) than men (1.7%). Liberian women and men living in urban areas are more likely to be HIV-positive than those in rural areas (2.6% vs. 0.8%). HIV prevalence among adults in Liberia is similar to neighboring countries with recent demographic and health surveys. According to the 2012 Guinea DHS, HIV prevalence among adults in Guinea is 1.7%, while the 2011-12 Côte d'Ivoire DHS shows that HIV prevalence in Côte d'Ivoire is nearly two times higher (3.7%) than HIV prevalence in Liberia (1.9%).

The objective of this nationwide survey was to provide estimates of basic demographic and health indicators, including HIV prevalence and other important HIV/AIDS program indicators. Data were collected from a sample of households that are representative of the Liberian population. The survey was conducted from March to July 2013 and interviewed 9,333 households, and 9,239 women and 4,118 men age 15-49.

The 2013 LDHS was implemented by the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS). The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) authorized the survey. Funding for the survey was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Global Fund, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Government of Liberia. ICF International supported the project through the MEASURE DHS project, a USAID-funded program providing support, technical assistance, and funding for population and health surveys in countries worldwide.

For more information, contact: Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), Statistics House, Capitol Hill, P.O. Box 629, Monrovia, Liberia (Telephone +231-886-518885/886-583839;Web: www.lisgis.net).