– The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), has said that Nigeria ranks among the highest on newborn deaths in the world
– UNICEF’s report said that the number of death recorded would have been avoided if there was availability of medical care to all pregnant women
– The organisation said it is carrying out a campaign on the preservation of the lives of newborn babies by helping to provide health care
A recent report by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), said that Nigeria has one of the highest newborn deaths in the world. The report also stated that even though the situation is improving, the progress is very unimpressive.
Going by the newborn mortality rate of 29 deaths per 1,000 births, the global estimates rank Nigeria as the 11th highest on newborn deaths. In the new Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), conducted by the federal government between 2016 and 2017, the rate of newborn deaths per 1000 births is 37.
Mohamed Fall, UNICEF Nigeria’s Representative said: “A fair chance in life begins with a strong, healthy start. Unfortunately, many children in Nigeria are still deprived of this,” said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF Nigeria’s Representative. “MICS data tells us that the trend is improving but urgent action needs to be taken for Nigeria to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. It cannot afford to fail its newborns today.”
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A new report on newborn mortality stated that one million babies die the day they are born, and that about 2.6 million newborns throughout the world do not survive their first months of life. The report, made by UNICEF, said that global deaths of newborn babies remain disturbingly high, in the world’s poorest countries yearly.
The report revealed that 8 of the 10 most dangerous locations bear children are in sub-Saharan Africa, where pregnant women are much less likely to receive assistance during delivery due to poverty, conflict and weak institutions. The report also pointed out that developing nations, the average newborn mortality rate is 27 deaths per 1,000 births internationally. However, in developed countries, that rate is 3 deaths per 1,000.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director stated: “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. Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly, we are failing the world’s poorest babies.”
Over 80% of newborn deaths are caused by prematurity, complications during birth or infections, yet the deaths can be avoided if their is access to well-trained midwives during antenatal and postnatal visits as well as delivery at a health facility, along with proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact among others.
UNICEF is launching a global campaign tagged Every Child ALIVE, to demand and deliver solutions on behalf of the world’s infants. The organisation is using this move to appeal to governments, health care providers, donors, the private sector, families and businesses to keep every child alive by recruiting, training, retaining and managing sufficient numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives with expertise in maternal and newborn care.
The organisation’s deputy director, Justin Forsyth, told journalists in Maiduguri that urgent interventions were necessary to address the situation.
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