Newborn mortality: India 12th worst among low-income countries

Newborn mortality: India 12th worst among low-income countries

New Delhi: A new study done by the UNICEF has found that nearly 600,000 newborns die within 28 days of their birth in India every year. The study, which revealed that a quarter of global neonatal deaths happen in India each year, also showed that the country has remarkably reduced the under-five mortality. The first 28 days of life – the neonatal period – are the most vulnerable time for a child’s survival. And children face the highest risk of dying in their first month of life, at a global rate of 19 deaths per 1,000 live births, said the report.

According to the report, India’s neonatal mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) is 25.4, which it ranks at 12 spots among 52 “low middle-income countries” in terms of risk for newborns. Although this is better than Pakistan, the country with the worst newborn mortality rate and, it is far behind India’s less prosperous neighbors

“Though infant mortality in the country has declined considerably, the number of newborns die each year remains unacceptably high. India, with nearly 600,000 newborn deaths each year, accounts for a quarter of the global burden of neonatal deaths,” said UNICEF in its global report on neonatal mortality “Every Child Alive” released on early Tuesday.

The report covered 184 countries and India has been ranked 31, keeping the world’s seventh largest economy below 153 countries who have better survival rates for their newborns. A year earlier, India was the 28th worst country among 184 nations in terms of neonatal mortality.

The report named Pakistan as the riskiest country to be born with 45.6 newborn babies dying out of every 1,000 births in 2016. The safest country for birth on the list is Japan, where less than one in 1,000 babies dies by the time they complete a month. This means Japan’s figure is more than 50 times lower than neonatal mortality rates in Pakistan, reflecting the widening disparity in life expectancy around the world.

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, UNICEF, said, in a statement.

Globally, some 2.6 million children died in the first month of life in 2016 most of which occurred in the first week, with about one million dying on the first day and close to one million dying within the next six days, as per the UNICEF.

The report, however, noted that more than 80 percent of newborn deaths included delivery complications or infectious diseases such as pneumonia, which could have been prevented with basic solutions such as affordable healthcare and well-trained medical staff.

(With Agency Inputs)

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