Global Death of Newborn Babies Remains High

Pauline Gross
February 22, 2018

"India, with almost 600,000 newborn deaths each year, accounts for a quarter of the global burden of neonatal deaths", said UNICEF in its global report on neonatal mortality "Every Child Alive" released on early Tuesday.

The UNICEF report also says that every year, 2.6 million newborns around the world do not survive their first month of life.

In high income countries, the average death rate is 3 in 1000, while in low income countries 27 babies die in their first month.

Deaths among children ages 1 month to 5 years old have decreased "dramatically", but progress in lowering the rates of deaths of newborn babies "has been less impressive", UNICEF said.

Despite the fact that roughly 7,000 newborn babies die every day - with more than 80 percent of the deaths preventable with "basic solutions" such as affordable health care and well-trained medical staff - Fore pointed to improvements made in countries such as Bangladesh, where the mortality rate has fallen by more than two-thirds.

A Scroll.in report notes that this is the first time that the United Nations group has ranked countries based on their newborn mortality rate. Newborns from the riskiest places to give birth are up to 50 times more likely to die than those from the safest places.

In general, babies born in richer countries fare far better, but there are differences within countries.

According to the 33-page report, the risk of dying as a newborn varies widely with location of birth.

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At present, despite the many developments the world has seen, 2.6 million babies around the world die within 30 days of their birth.

"Newborns die because they are poor", Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF's executive director, said during a NY event to launch the report and campaign.

Babies born in Japan, Iceland and Singapore have the best odds of survival globally, while newborns in Pakistan, Central African Republic and Afghanistan are the worst off, Unicef said.

Dr Zeck, who worked as an obstetrician/gynaecologist in Tanzania, said women were often unsure how pregnant they were, and he would have to use his hands to estimate whether a foetus was premature or seriously underweight.

Europe accounted for eight of the top 10 countries in terms of lowest mortality rates, with Iceland coming out on top in the region, followed by Norway and Luxembourg. Children face the highest risk of dying in their first month of life, at a global rate of 19 deaths per 1,000 live births.

The rest are; making it a priority to provide every mother and baby with the life-saving drugs and equipment needed for a healthy start in life; and empowering adolescent girls, mothers and families to demand and receive quality care.

The report noted that Rwanda successfully cut its infant mortality rate in half-from 41 out of every 1,000 births in 1990 to 17 in 2016.

Such deaths can be prevented with access to well-trained midwives, clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding instruction, and good nutrition.

Other reports by GizPress

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