Ending Newborn Deaths: Save the Children Report

Ending Newborn Deaths: Save the Children Report
Ending Newborn Deaths: Save the Children Report

The first 24 hours of a child’s life are the most dangerous, with more than one million babies dying each year on their first and only day of life, according to new research published Monday by Save the Children.

The new report, “Ending Newborn Deaths,” shows one half of first day deaths around the world could be prevented if the mother and baby had access to free health care and a skilled midwife.

The children’s aid agency says the deaths happen because of premature birth and complications during birth, such as prolonged labor, pre-eclampsia and infection, which can be avoided if quality health experts are present.

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The research also found an additional 1.2 million babies are stillborn each year, their heartbeats stopping during labor because of childbirth complications, maternal infections and hypertension.

In a bid to save millions of newborn lives, Save the Children has called on world leaders to commit in 2014 to a blueprint for change – The Five Point Newborn Promise – which focuses on training and equipping enough skilled health workers to make sure no baby is born without proper help, and removing fees for all pregnancy and birth services.

Ending Newborn Deaths: Save the Children Report
Ending Newborn Deaths: Save the Children Report

The world has made amazing progress in reducing child mortality during the past decade – nearly halved from 12 million to 6.6 million – thanks to global political action on immunisation, treatment of pneumonia, diarrhoea, and malaria, family planning and nutrition.

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But this progress could stall without urgent action to tackle scandalously high numbers of newborns dying. This report warns that newborn deaths now account for nearly half of all under-five deaths.

“The first day of a child’s life is the most dangerous, and too many mothers give birth alone on the floor of their home or in the bush without any life-saving help. We hear horror stories of mothers walking for hours during labor to find trained help, all too often ending in tragedy,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children.

“It’s criminal that many of these deaths could be averted simply if there was someone on hand to make sure the birth took place safely and who knew what to do in a crisis.”

Save the Children is a leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world.

Photo courtesy: Save the Children

RMN News

Rakesh Raman