21, Feb 2018 | CJP Team
UNICEF has released a new report on newborn mortality, saying that newborn babies are still dying at high rates across the world, especially in the poorest countries. Worldwide, in low-income countries, the average mortality rate for newborns is 27 deaths for 1,000 births, compared to high-income countries that see 3 deaths for 1,000 births. Newborns in the world’s most dangerous places to give birth are 50 times more at risk of dying compared to those who are born in the most secure places. Of newborn deaths, UNICEF executive director Henrietta H. Fore said, “Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly, we are failing the world’s poorest babies.” According to Fore, annually 2.6 million newborns die within the first month of life, with one million dying the day they are born. According to the report, more than 80% of newborn deaths can be attributed to prematurity, complications arising from delivery, or infections like sepsis and pneumonia. These are preventable if mothers and babies have access to well-trained midwives, clean water, and disinfectants, and solutions such as proper nutrition, breastfeeding within the first hour, and skin-to-skin contact are implemented. However, there is a dearth of well-trained midwives and healthcare workers. In Norway, for example, there are 218 doctors, nurses, midwives for 10,000 people, while Somalia has just 1 for 10,000 people. Newborns in Singapore, Iceland, and Japan have the highest chances of surviving, compared to those in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, and Pakistan, who have the worst chances of surviving.