Unreported Infant Deaths Around The World

Even in fairly well developed middle income countries, infant deaths may often go unreported to the proper authorities.

Unreported Infant Deaths In Dominican Republic and Sierra Leone

Every year countries report high mortality rates of infants and US alone reports around 23,000 infant deaths every year. Infant death refers to children who die before attaining the age of one. Infant mortality rate is high especially in the developing countries, particularly in the rural areas. Most of the infant deaths go unreported or unregistered with the relevant authorities. The Dominican Republic reports only 1% of the infant deaths while Sierra Leon reports only 13% of the child deaths. Most infant deaths go unregistered because of the difficulty in accessing the vital registries. Besides, infant deaths that take place at home are rarely reported. Sometimes the nature of death especially if it is due to negligence may not be reported.

What Are The Contributing Factors?

Infant deaths are very common even in the developed world. The US reports twice the number of infant death compared to Sweden. Infant mortality can be as a result of medical reasons including low birth weight caused by poor maternal nutrition, lack of prenatal care and preterm birth. Sudden infant death syndrome is an unexplained infant death during their sleep is also a medical condition that has contributed to infant mortality. Environmental factors such as pollutions expose the baby to pathogens and parasites that cause diseases leading to the death of infants. Socio-economic factors such poverty also expose children to deaths. Children from low-income families who cannot access medical facilities are not likely to survive certain infections. Cultural practices have also contributed to significant mortality. Some cultures where boy child is preferred experience girls’ infant deaths. In Ghana, for instance, women and newborns are culturally not allowed to leave the house and therefore, difficult for children to get treatment. Lifestyle, especially in the US, is also one of the leading causes of infant death. Parents ignore their responsibility in pursuit of career and education.

Other Countries With Unreported Cases Of Infant Deaths

Infant mortality rates (IMR) is high among the least developed countries compared to developed nations. On an average, IMR is almost 17 times greater in developing countries compared to developed countries. Of these high IMR, only a few deaths are reported. Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Palestine, and Albania report less than 30% of the infant deaths to the respective authorities in charge of death registration every year. The number of infant deaths reported is expected to increase due to the government effort to create awareness on the importance of death registration and the several policies and decentralization of registration process in most countries


Infant deaths if not reported may lead to several Implications both the government and the parents. Parents who fail to report mortality in some countries risk jail and or fines from the government authorities because it against the law not to report any deaths. The government has struggled to reduce infant mortality rates because of the unreported infant deaths. The governments in developing are not able to properly investigate and mitigate the causes of infant death that are on the rise. Sudden infant death syndromes are not adequately investigated if the death is not reported to the relevant authorities.

Infant Deaths Going Unreported

RankCountry% of Infant Death Reported to Authorities
1Dominican Republic1%
2Sierra Leone13%
7Burkina Faso31%
9El Salvador35%

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