The infant mortality rate in South Africa is estimated to be about 55 per 1000. Therefore, out of every 1000 infants born alive in South Africa, 55 will die before reaching the age of 12 months. This can be compared to an infant mortality rate of less than 10/1000 in developed countries and 20/1000 or more in developing (under resourced) countries. South Africa therefore has an infant mortality rate similar to that seen in most under resourced countries.
South Africa has an infant mortality rate typical of a developing country.
The high infant mortality rate in South Africa indicates that there are problems with the health of young children in the country. South Africa has a higher infant mortality rate than other countries with a similar income (e.g. Mexico and Brazil). Therefore, South Africa has the financial resources to lower the infant mortality rate. It is important that a country uses its resources wisely and develops the health service and improves living conditions for all.
Furthermore, about 45 out of every 60 under-5 deaths occur during the first year of life (i.e. 75%). Children under 1 year are, therefore, at greater risk of dying than are older children.
The neonatal mortality rate in South Africa is estimated to be about 20 per 1000. Therefore, about a third of all under-5 deaths occur in the first month of life, especially the first week of life when most neonatal deaths occur.