Damilola ShobiyeDamilola M. Shobiye, MPH

Damilola M. Shobiye, MPH, from the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, is the lead author of a new study in eClinicalMedicine journal, published by The Lancet: Infant Mortality and Risk Factors in Nigeria in 2013-2017: A Population-level Study.

What was the question you set out to answer with this study?

Nigeria remains one of the countries in Africa with the highest infant mortality rate (IMR), despite a reduction, globally in the past two decades.

We conducted a five-year (2013-2017) retrospective study of data from the most recent Nigeria Demographic Health Survey to understand the trend in infant mortality (IM) and its associated risk factors.

What are two or three key takeaways?

We observed an increase in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in Nigeria from 50·1 per 1,000 live births in 2013 to 59·9 per 1,000 live births in 2017 with aggregate figure of 61·5 per 1,000 live births over the five-year period. This rate reinforces Nigeria’s rank as one of the leading countries with infant mortality in Africa.

At the regional level, the North continues to bear the highest burden of infant mortality, particularly the North-West with the highest mortality rate of 77·0 per 1,000 live births in 2017.

Women who delivered their babies at a younger age (i.e., less than 18 years), live(d) in rural areas, have limited access to health care or skilled healthcare providers, and are delivering their first child have a higher risk of infant mortality.

What were your conclusions?

An increasing rate of infant mortality in Nigeria indicates that Nigeria is not on track to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of reducing child mortality by 2030.

As a result, targeted, effective, and tailored interventions are urgently required to reduce this burden among women of reproductive age, particularly for those living in the rural areas and in the North.

About the Massachusetts General Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The Mass General Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with annual research operations of more than $1 billion and comprises more than 9,500 researchers working across more than 30 institutes, centers and departments. In July 2022, Mass General was named #8 in the U.S. News & World Report list of "America’s Best Hospitals." MGH is a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system.