Health and Nutrition

The Gambia Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 6 Findings Released!

  • Author: Sanna Manjang, Director of Coordination, Statistical Methods, Quality Assurance & Dissemination
  • Published: September 3, 2019 12:27 pm

Banjul, 2nd September  2019: Remarkable progress have been made in many areas of the wellbeing of women and children in The Gambia, however disparities remain between households from different geographical regions; rural and urban areas; households socio-economic status and education levels of mothers/primary caretakers, reveals The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS)-UNICEF MICS findings released today.

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) are conducted in many countries in the world and uses internationally accepted standards for gathering social data on a national scale. The major objective of the survey is to monitor progress made in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the National Development Plan (NDP) of The Gambia. The results of the 2018 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), was presented today at the national level dissemination of the survey findings. We hope that this summary finding report will provide a clear picture of the current situation of women and children in The Gambia.

The survey provides approximately 170 key indicators about women and children on the health, nutrition, education, water, reproductive health and child protection. Among which, 35 are Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators. Under-5 mortality rate is at 57 per 1,000 live births, with mortality rates higher in rural areas at 64 deaths per 1,000 live births. The prevalence of stunting in children 0-59 months is at 19 per cent.  Stunting is higher in rural areas at 22 per cent than the urban areas (17%). Stunting[1] was highest in the following Local Government Areas. Kuntaur with 26.6 per cent, Janjanbureh, 24.3 per cent and Kerewan with 20.8 per cent compared to 16.6 per cent in Banjul and 14.4 per cent in Kanifing.

Eighty-five per cent of households use basic drinking water services and only 1 percent of households practice Open Defecation. 61.8 per cent have access to improved sanitation. If we make a commitment to get the 1 percent households practicing open defecation with toilets, then The Gambia will be on her way to becoming the first country in the region to be Open defecation free.

Primary school completion rate is 66 per cent. It is alarming and requires that attention be paid to primary education in The Gambia. Slightly above 18 per cent of primary school age children are out of school.

Similarly, birth registration still requires concerted efforts in The Gambia.  Birth Registration is at 57.9 per cent. It is important to note also that more than 78.9 percent of mothers and care takers know how to register their children. Boys are more registered than girls with 59.5 per cent and 56.2 per cent respectively. 

Child marriage especially for girls remains a challenge in The Gambia, with 34.2 per cent of women (20-49 years old) being married before the age of 18. Households within the poorest quantiles have the highest rates of child marriage with 49.2 per cent. About 25 per cent of children between 5 and 17 years are involved in Child Labour.

The survey was conducted in the 8 Local Government Areas in The Gambia by the GBoS with technical assistance from UNICEF, from January-April 2018. 7,405 out of 7800 sampled households across the LGAs were successfully interviewed translating to a response rate of 98.5 per cent. We acknowledge the financial and non-financial contributions made by The Government of The Gambia, United Nations System in The Gambia, development partners, civil society organisations and the citizens of The Gambia. 

While extending thanks to UNICEF and all the partners for their support on MICS and other activities, Statistician General- Nyakassi M. B. Sanyang congratulated the survey team and all who contributed to the successful completion of the survey.



About UNICEF:  UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:



[1] refers to a child who is too short for his or her age. Stunting is the failure to grow both physically and cognitively and is the result of chronic or recurrent malnutrition.

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