New national survey shows improvements in health
Results from the 2009 Maldives Demographic and Health Survey (MDHS) show that more Maldivian children are living past their fifth birthday. The survey also reveals high rates of child immunisation. Moreover, nearly all pregnant women in the Maldives receive antenatal care from skilled provider and deliver in a health facility assisted by a skilled provider.
Nationwide, infant and under-five mortality have been cut in half over the past ten years. Currently, 14 children per 1,000 live births die before their first birthday, down from 32 deaths per 1,000 live births in the period five to nine years before the survey. Similarly, the number of children who die before their fifth birthday has decreased. Under-five mortality has dropped from 38 deaths per 1,000 live births in the period five to nine years before the survey to its current rate of 17 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Overall, 93% of children aged 12-23 months have received all the recommended vaccinations. This is an increase from the 2001 MICS, which found that 85% of children were fully immunised. The 2009 MDHS found that 19% of children under age five were stunted, or too short for their age. Stunting is a measure of chronic, or long-term, undernutrition. Additionally, 17% of children under age five are underweight, or too thin for their age. There is nearly no difference between boys and girls in levels of nutrition.
Nearly all pregnant women (99%) in the Maldives receive antenatal care from a skilled provider, most of whom (92%) received antenatal care from a gynaecologist. However, only 52% of women were informed of signs of pregnancy complications during antenatal care. Ninety-five percent of women deliver in a health facility and 95% of births are assisted by a skilled provider.
The 2009 MDHS was conducted among 6,443 households, 7,131 women and 1,727 men age 15-64, and 2,240 unmarried young women and men age 15-24 by the Maldivian Ministry of Health and Family.
ICF Macro, an ICF International company, provided technical assistance through every phase of the survey. Funding for the survey was provided by the Government of the Maldives, the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO).