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The Lost Decade: Infant Mortality in Ghana
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Title: The Lost Decade: Infant Mortality in Ghana
Series Title: Journal of Undergraduate Research
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Harper, Genevieve
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009
Abstract: Ghana is hailed as “an island of peace and stability” in the volatile landscape of sub-Saharan West Africa; a success story of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (Atakpu, 2004). Four peaceful democratic transitions between 1996 and 2008 have placed Ghana firmly, in the eyes of the world, as the clear leader amongst sub-Saharan African countries in the race for human development. In spite of this, the infant mortality rate in Ghana is high relative to the rest of the world. It is a contributing factor in the ranking of Ghana as 135th for human development out of the 177 countries studied by the 2007-2008 United Nation's Human Development Report. The level of poverty reduction and economic stability achieved in Ghana since the year 2000 has not been matched by a proportional reduction in the infant mortality rate which, rather than trending downwards as expected, has stagnated (Department for International Development, 2008). Physical quality of life can be described by a number of indicators. One of the most important and reliable is the infant mortality rate (Shen and Williamson, 1997). As the main causes of infant mortality are highly preventable, in places where infants are regularly dying the physical quality of life is poor (Frey, Field, 2000). Ghana is an example of economic growth and human development not progressing at commensurate rates—evidenced by the stagnation in the reduction of infant mortality experienced over the past decade. This paper examines the factors associated with infant mortality rates, along with the possible reasons for the persistence of high levels of infant mortality in Ghana. Sub-Saharan Africa is subject to conditions which make its infant mortality rates higher than in the rest of the world. Though Ghana has achieved more economic success than most of its sub-Saharan African counterparts, most of the countries in the region are stricken by similar issues. While certain factors contributing to the stagnation in Ghanaian infant mortality like the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) seem obvious, others are more insidious and difficult to isolate. This paper provides substantial evidence that the failure to reduce measured infant mortality rates in Ghana between 2000 and 2007 is due mainly to extremely high levels of neonatal mortality. Also, the poor allocation of foreign aid has helped to perpetuate an infrastructure of healthcare and education that is inadequate for the needs of the country.
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Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UF00091523:00572

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