Monday, 15 December 2008

Child Development Index (CDI) ranks Nigeria amongst the worst countries worldwide in terms of child health & development

Nigeria's Index Score :
1990-1994 49.37
1995-1999 43.06
2000-2006 40.53

Sub-Saharan Africa’s Regional Index Score :
1990-1994 43.4
1995-1999 41.0
2000-2006 34.5

CDI Ranking 126th of 137 countries (in 2000-06)

Save the Children UK has introduced the first ever multi-dimensional tool to monitor and compare the well-being of children around the world. More than 135 developed and developing countries worldwide have been assessed through the following methodology:
Each country has been given a score from 0-100, resulting in its ranking. The score is compiled by adding up each country’s performance in 3 child-specific areas: child mortality, child malnutrition, and primary school enrolment. A low score and ranking are best, representing a low level of child deprivation. Niger has the worse score, at 58, ranking 137th of 137 countries in 2000-06.

Nigeria’s Child Development Index score and its ranking are shown above; they are high, indicating a high level of child deprivation. It scores worse than the most recent Sub-Saharan Africa average score of 34.5, and much worse, predictably, than the world score of 17.5 in 2000-06. Nigeria is categorised as a low income country and its score is also higher than the average low income group score of 29.2.

Nigeria’s overall improvement of 18% is slower than the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) regional rate of improvement of 20.5% over all three periods, which is well below the world average improvement of 34%. Worst still, Nigeria ’s rate of improvement has stalled drastically; from a 12.8% improvement between the first and second period to a meagre 5.8% improvement between the second and last periods. This is in reverse to the SSA performance, which accelerated after the middle period.

Until recently, Nigeria was one of the most highly indebted countries in the world. At the same time, aid was scarce when it is considered that it is Africa ’s most densely populated country with over 140 million people. While Nigeria is one of the world’s largest oil producers, the country’s oil income amounts to just 24p per person per day.Shackled by a long history of military dictatorship, instability and corruption, the country has failed to integrate the commitment and resources necessary to achieve meaningful progress.

Looking at the individual indicators that make up the Index we see that although there does not seem to be a particular indicator driving Nigeria ’s results,the greatest improvements have been made in terms of the nutrition indicator, with a 20% positive change. Their education indicator has improved by 18% overall but as of 2005, only 63.4 % of all primary school-aged children were enrolled. Most worrying is the country’s under-5 mortality rate which remained at 191 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006. Despite such a disturbingly high rate, Nigeria ’s improvement on this indicator has only improved by 17% overall. A 23% positive change between the first and second periods lost momentum and actually regressed by 9% between the second and last periods.

It is most interesting to compare how each country ranks in CDI Index with how each ranks in the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI). Nigeria comes 117th in a ranking of all 137 countries using the HDI, but 126th in the Child Development Index. This means that there is a significant difference between child well-being and adult well-being. In this case, Nigeria performs worse in terms of the CDI then the HDI.

The comparisons of CDI Index with income ranking and HDI ranking demonstrate that child well-being can often present a very different picture from traditional measures; this is why the Child Development Index should be disseminated throughout the world and used to help hold governments accountable on child well-being.

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