5 countries with the highest maternal mortality rate in Africa

While the risk of a child dying before the age of five is reducing in many parts of the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has found that the maternal mortality rate in Africa is still very high.

In the WHO African Region, there are over 100 deaths per 1000 live births. This is way higher than the WHO European Region which has only 9 per 1000 live births).

This has been attributed to poor access to proper healthcare, haemorrhage, insecurity, hunger, malaria, and high levels of poverty.

Here are the countries with the highest maternal mortality rate in Africa, according to World Atlas:


The highest infant mortality rate in Africa can be found in Mali. This West African country has 100 deaths per 1,000 live births. This makes Mali the country with the second highest infant mortality rate in the world. 

Afghanistan is first with 112.8 out of 1,000 infants susceptible to death before the age of five.

Somalia has the second highest infant mortality rate in the continent. Reportedly, about one of every ten pregnant women die before they deliver. This is mostly due to lack of access to proper health facilities and female genital mutilation which increase the chances of infants dying before their first birthday.


According to research by the International Humanitarian Organization Medicine Sans Frontiers, the primary cause of infant mortality is the lack of access to health facilities. This causes most women to deliver in their homes which often leads to complications.


Diseases like malaria and diarrhoea combined with the poverty in the country lead to an increase in infant deaths.

The lack of a vaccine for preventable diseases like chicken pox and measles along with malaria have been identified as the major cause of infant deaths.

Other countries in Africa with high mortality rate are Niger  (82.8),  Angola  (76.5), Burkina Faso  (73.8), Nigeria  (71.2) and Sierra Leone  (70).


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