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Mortality and morbidity in children under 5 years of age were measured in 41 villages and hamlets in a rural area of The Gambia for a 1-year period before and for a 3-year period after the introduction of a primary health care (PHC) programme into 15 of the larger villages in the area. Both infant mortality and child mortality rates fell during the post-intervention period but declines were similar in PHC and in non-PHC villages suggesting that factors such as an up-grading of the Farafenni dispensary, improvements in transport and the survey itself may have played an important part in bringing about these changes. Measurements of morbidity showed a lower prevalence of diarrhoea, vomiting or severe cough in PHC villages after the introduction of the PHC programme. Introduction of the PHC programme had no significant effect on nutritional status or on vaccine coverage. Significant improvements in the health of children in the Farafenni study area have taken place during the past 5 years but the PHC programme is probably only one of the factors that have brought about these changes.



The Journal of tropical medicine and hygiene

Publication Date





87 - 97


Medical Research Council Laboratories, Fajara, Banjul, The Gambia.


Humans, Vaccination, Morbidity, Mortality, Infant Mortality, Nutritional Status, Child, Preschool, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Rural Health, Child Health Services, Primary Health Care, Gambia, Female, Male