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6 Lakh Newborn Babies In India Die Every Year Within 28 Days Of Birth: UNICEF

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| February 20 , 2018 , 13:16 IST

UNICEF on Tuesday released a new mortality report which states that global deaths of newborn babies remain alarmingly high, particularly among the world's poorest countries. In India, 6 lakh newborns die within 28 days of their birth every year.

As a positive sign, the study said, India has remarkably reduced the mortality rate of children less than five years of age.

Every year, globally 2.6 million babies die before turning one month old.

Of the 184 countries, which the report covers, India ranks 31 with 25.4 neonatal mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) keeping the world's seventh largest economy below 153 countries who have better survival rates for their newborns.

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Pakistan has the worst newborn mortality rate as a newborn faced a 1 in 22 chance of death, while a newborn in Japan had only a one in 1,111 risks of dying, the report said.

Of the 10 highest-risk countries, eight are in sub-Saharan Africa, countries where "pregnant women are much less likely to receive assistance," due to poverty, conflict or weak institutions, according to the report. The risk is 50 times higher than the richest countries.

UNICEF's Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore said, "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."

The report stated that globally, the countries which have low-income, the average newborn mortality rate is 27 deaths per 1,000 births in those countries. In high-income countries, that rate is 3 deaths per 1,000.

The countries with the lowest newborn mortality rates, after Japan, Iceland (1 in 1,000 chance of death), Singapore (1 in 909), Finland (1 in 833), Estonia and Slovenia (1 in 769), Cyprus (1 in 714) and Belarus, Luxembourg, Norway and South Korea (1 in 667). 

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UNICEF Pacific Representative Sheldon Yett said, "UNICEF is working with governments around the region to improve the quality of care for newborn babies and to ensure that all babies, no matter where they are born, receive the vital care they need in those first few days to survive."

UNICEF said if every country brought its newborn mortality rate down to the high-income average by 2030, 16 million lives could be saved.

The report said the deaths could 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.