UNITED NATIONS, United States: Newborns are dying at “alarmingly high” rates in less-developed countries, especially in countries that are conflict-ridden or with weak institutions, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) in a new report.
The report revealed that babies born in these places are 50 times more likely to die in the first month of life than those born in some wealthier nations.
“Every year, 2.6 million newborns around the world do not survive their first month of life. One million of them die the day they are born,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
Globally, in low-income countries, the average newborn mortality rate is 27 deaths per 1,000 births, the report showed, while in high-income countries, that rate is three deaths per 1,000.
The report also noted that eight of the 10 most dangerous places to be born are in sub-Saharan Africa, where pregnant women are much less likely to receive assistance during delivery because of poverty, conflict, and weak institutions.
The report showed that the top newborn mortality rates are in Pakistan, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and Chad.
Babies born in Japan, Iceland, Singapore, Finland, Estonia, and Slovenia have the best chance at survival, the report said.
If every country brought its newborn mortality rate down to the high-income average by 2030, 16 million lives could be saved, according to the report.
More than 80 percent of newborn deaths are from prematurity, complications during birth or infections, such as pneumonia and sepsis, the report found.
“Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly, we are failing the world’s poorest babies,” Fore said.