In October 1994, a retrospective study of mortality of children was conducted in Maringué, a district of central Mozambique. Estimates based on maternity histories of 1503 women aged 15-60 years revealed complex changes in the under-5 death rate. During the colonial period (1955-1974), mortality declined from 373 to 270 per 1000. During the civil war period (1975-1991), mortality increased rapidly to reach a peak of 473 per 1000 in 1986. It declined again thereafter and reached a plateau of 380 in 1991. A health intervention conducted by the International Red Cross Committee since 1992 further reduced mortality to 269 per 1000 in 1994. Most of the 1992-1994 decline was attributable to vaccinations, in particular measles and tetanus immunizations, and to Vitamin A supplementation.