Medical Management

World Is Failing Newborn Babies, Says UNICEF

(KPL) Global deaths of newborn babies remain alarmingly high, particularly among the world’s poorest countries, UNICEF said Tuesday in a new report on newborn mortality. Babies born in Japan, Iceland and Singapore have the best chance at survival, while newborns in Pakistan, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan face the worst odds.

Lao PDR has made important progress in reducing newborn mortality over the last 10 years, however, the current rate is among the highest in the Asia and the Pacific region.

While we have more than halved the number of deaths among children under the age of five in the last quarter century, we have not made similar progress in ending deaths among children less than one month old, said Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director. Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly, we are failing the world’s poorest babies.

Globally, in low-income countries, the average newborn mortality rate is 27 deaths per 1,000 births, the report says. In high-income countries, that rate is 3 deaths per 1,000. Newborns from the riskiest places to give birth are up to 50 times more likely to die than those from the safest places.

In the Lao PDR, the newborn mortality rate is above the average, 28.7 deaths per 1,000 births, with great variations between rural (40.8) and urban (19.6). For the government of the Lao PDR, reducing newborn mortality is a priority as reflected in the 2016-2025 Reproductive Maternal Newborn and Child Health Strategy which addresses its causes and proposes specific interventions in the area of essential maternal and newborn care.

The report also notes that 8of 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 due to poverty, conflict and weak institutions.

With a newborn mortality rate equivalent to 1 in 35, the Lao PDR ranks 21st out of 184 countries. If every country brought its newborn mortality rate down to the high-income average by 2030, 16 million lives could be saved.

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 Ms. Fore. “We know we can save the vast majority of these babies with affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and every newborn. Just a few small steps from all of us can help ensure the first small steps of each of these young lives.

Source: Lao News Agency