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Despite drop in under-five mortality rate, 7,000 newborns die every day – UN report

 A nine-day-old baby boy is cradled by his mother in Bambaya Village in Fiama Chiefdom, Kono District, Sierra Leone.
A nine-day-old baby boy is cradled by his mother in Bambaya Village in Fiama Chiefdom, Kono District, Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/Phelps
More must be done to stop babies from dying the day they are born, United Nations agencies said in a new report issued Thursday, which argued that life-saving know-how and technologies must be made readily available – particularly in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa – where they are most needed.
Although the number of children dying before age five is at a new low – 5.6 million in 2016 compared with nearly 9.9 million in 2000 – the proportion of newborn deaths during that period has jumped from 41 to 46 per cent – or 7,000 babies.

This is according to theLevels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017, released today by the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME) – comprised of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and the Population Division in the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs.

“The lives of 50 million children under-five have been saved since 2000, a testament to the serious commitment by governments and development partners to tackle preventable child deaths,” said Stefan Swartling Peterson, the UN Children's Fund's (UNICEF) Chief of Health, in a joint press statement.

But without a greater effort to stop babies from dying the day they are born, or days after their birth, this progress will remain incomplete. “We have the knowledge and technologies that are required – we just need to take them where they are most needed,” he added.

Current trends suggest that between 2017 and 2030, 30 million newborns will die within first 28 days of life. As such, the agencies stress that measures must be taken to achieve universal health coverage and ensure that more newborns survive and thrive, including by serving marginalized families.


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Last modified on Thursday, 19 October 2017 18:10

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