The National Statistics Office released yesterday a result of a national survey conducted last year, showing that Region 8 ( Eastern Visayas) has the highest infant mortality rate (IMR) as well as the highest under-5 mortality rate (U-5MR ) in the country.

In the same statement, the agency said that that the results of 2011 Family Health Survey (FHS) indicated that Eastern Visayas  got the highest IMR with 40 deaths per 1,000 live births. The result also disclosed that the same region has the highest U-5MR with 53 deaths per 1,000 live births.

On the other hand, the result indicated that the National Capital Region got the lowest IMR and U-5MR.

“Among the regions in the country, the National Capital Region exhibited the lowest IMR of only14 deaths per 1,000 live births and U-5MR of 20 deaths per 1,000 live births”, NSO said.

The agency also reported that the country’s average IMR is 22 per 1000 and U-5MR of 30 per 1,000.

However, the NSO noted that the recent survey result was better than the last conducted survey in 2006. “The said estimated under-five mortality rate (U-5MR) or the probability of a child born on a specified year and dying before reaching the age of five years based on the 2011 Family Health Survey (FHS) is lower than the estimated deaths per 1,000 live births based on the 2006 Family Planning Survey (FPS)”, NSO said.

“Under-five mortality levels in the Philippines continue to improve, falling from 64 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1993 to 40 deaths in 2003. Estimates for U-5MR make reference to the 5-year period prior to the year the survey was conducted. The latest estimate refers to the period 2007-2011”, it added.

With the decreasing rate of IMR, NSO noted that the “current levels of both infant and under-five mortality in the Philippines reflect progress in government efforts at improving the health conditions of children.”

“If the trend will continue, the country will be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) or reducing the national U-5MR by two-thirds or only 19 deaths per 1,000 live births”, NSO Administrator Carmelita N. Ericta said.

The FHS, conducted last year, was a nationwide survey with a sample of 53,162 households. A total of 52,769 women were interviewed to collect data on fertility, family planning practice, maternal and child health and, maternal and child mortality.

The survey was initiated by the National Statistics Office and was funded mainly by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).