Nurse’s Role in the Prevention of Infant and Under-Five Child Mortality

Infant and under-five child mortality is a major global health challenge that affects millions of families every year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5.2 million children died before reaching their fifth birthday in 2019, mostly from preventable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and malnutrition. The majority of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where access to quality health care services is limited or nonexistent.

Nurses play a vital role in preventing and reducing infant and under-five child mortality, as they are often the first and sometimes the only point of contact for mothers and children in need of health care. Nurses can provide essential services such as antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, immunization, nutrition counseling, growth monitoring, treatment of common childhood illnesses, referral to higher levels of care, and health education. Nurses can also advocate for the rights and needs of mothers and children, and participate in policy making and planning to improve maternal and child health outcomes.

However, nurses face many challenges in fulfilling their role in preventing and reducing infant and under-five child mortality. Some of these challenges include inadequate staffing, training, equipment, supplies, supervision, and remuneration; high workload and burnout; lack of recognition and respect; poor working conditions and safety; cultural barriers and gender discrimination; and weak health systems and governance. These challenges affect the quality and effectiveness of nursing care, and ultimately the survival and well-being of mothers and children.

Therefore, it is imperative that nurses are supported and empowered to perform their role in preventing and reducing infant and under-five child mortality. This requires investing in nursing education, regulation, leadership, research, and practice; strengthening health systems and improving service delivery; engaging communities and stakeholders; promoting interprofessional collaboration and coordination; and ensuring accountability and monitoring of progress. By doing so, nurses can make a significant contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 3.2 of ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under five by 2030.


– Kargbo F., Obodoeze M. (2015). Nurses’ role in prevention of infant and under-five child mortality in Africa: A literature review.
– WHO (2020). Children: reducing mortality.
– UNICEF (2020). Levels & Trends in Child Mortality: Report 2020.
– ICN (2017). Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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