Singapore among world’s safest places to have a baby: UNICEF

Global deaths of newborn babies remain alarmingly high, particularly among the world’s poorest countries, UNICEF said yesterday 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.

India’s child deaths per 1,000 live births stands at 25.4.
India’s child deaths per 1,000 live births stand at 25.4. Photo courtesy: pexels.com

“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.”

India’s child deaths per 1,000 live births stand at 25.4. In terms of risk for newborns, India stands at 12 among 52 “lower-middle-income countries”. The report stated that around 600,000 newborns die within 28 days of their birth every year in India.

Globally, in low-income countries, the average newborn mortality rate is 27 deaths per 1,000 births, the report said. In high-income countries, that rate is three 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.

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 due to poverty, conflict and weak institutions. If every country brought its newborn mortality rate down to the high-income average by 2030, 16 million lives could be saved.

Lowest newborn mortality rates
1. Japan: 1 in 1,111 
2. Iceland: 1 in 1,000
3. Singapore: 1 in 909
4. Finland: 1 in 833
5. Estonia: 1 in 769
5. Slovenia: 1 in 769
7. Cyprus: 1 in 714
8. Belarus: 1 in 667
8. Luxembourg: 1 in 667
8. Norway: 1 in 667
8. Republic of Korea: 1 in 667

Highest newborn mortality rates
1. Pakistan: 1 in 22 
2. Central African Republic: 1 in 24
3. Afghanistan: 1 in 25
4. Somalia: 1 in 26
5. Lesotho: 1 in 26
6. Guinea-Bissau: 1 in 26
7. South Sudan: 1 in 26
8. Côte d'Ivoire: 1 in 27
9. Mali: 1 in 28 
10. Chad: 1 in 28

More than 80 per cent of newborn deaths are due to prematurity, complications during birth or infections such as pneumonia and sepsis, the report said. These deaths can be prevented with access to well-trained midwives, along with proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact and good nutrition. However, a shortage of well-trained health workers and midwives means that thousands don’t receive the life-saving support they need to survive. For example, while in Norway there are 218 doctors, nurses and midwives to serve 10,000 people, that ratio is 1 per 10,000 in Somalia.

This month, UNICEF is launching Every Child ALIVE, a global campaign to demand and deliver solutions on behalf of the world’s newborns. Through the campaign, UNICEF is issuing an urgent appeal to governments, healthcare providers, donors, the private sector, families and businesses to reduce infant mortality.

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CtoI News Desk
CtoI News Desk – CtoI

Singapore-headquartered online media company targeting Indian Diaspora across Singapore, US, UK and Dubai. Connected to India covers developments around Indians abroad, informing, engaging and entertaining its audiences.

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