Improving the health outcomes of newborns is every body’s business.

Improving the health outcomes of newborns is every body’s business. Right from home to the policy level.

A. Deaths among newborns

  • Globally 2.5 million children died in the first month of life in 2018 —approximately 7 000 newborn deaths every day with about one third dying on the day of birth and close to three quarters dying within the first week of life.
  • Neonatal mortality declined more slowly than mortality among children aged 1–59 months. As a result, the share of neonatal deaths among all under-five deaths increased from 40 (39, 41) per cent in 1990 to 47 (45, 49) per cent in
  • Children who die within the first 28 days of birth suffer from conditions and diseases associated with lack of quality care at birth or skilled care and treatment immediately after birth and in the first days of life.
  • Preterm birth, intrapartum-related complications (birth asphyxia or lack of breathing at birth), infections and birth defects cause most neonatal deaths.
  • Women who receive midwife-led continuity of care (MLCC) provided by professional midwives, educated and regulated to internationals standards, are 16% less likely to lose their baby and 24% less likely to experience pre-term birth.

 

B. Who is most at risk?

  • Globally 2.5 million children died in the first month of life in 2018.
  • There are approximately 7 000 newborn deaths every day, amounting to 47% of all child deaths under the age of 5-years, up from 40% in 1990.
  • The world has made substantial progress in child survival since 1990.
  • Globally, the number of neonatal deaths declined from 5.0 million in 1990 to 2.5 million in 2018.
  • However, the decline in neonatal mortality from 1990 to 2018 has been slower than that of post-neonatal under-5 mortality.
  • The share of neonatal deaths among under-five deaths is still relatively low in sub-Saharan Africa (36 per cent), which remains the region with the highest under-five mortality rates.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa had the highest neonatal mortality rate in 2018 at 28 deaths per 1,000 live births
  • A child born in sub-Saharan Africa or in Southern Asia is 10 times more likely to die in the first month than a child born in a high-income country.

 

C. Causes

  • The majority of all neonatal deaths (75%) occurs during the first week of life, and about 1 million newborns die within the first 24 hours.
  • Preterm birth, intrapartum-related complications (birth asphyxia or lack of breathing at birth), infections and birth defects cause most neonatal deaths in 2017.
  • From the end of the neonatal period and through the first 5 years of life, the main causes of death are pneumonia, diarrhoea, birth defects and malaria.
  • Malnutrition is the underlying contributing factor, making children more vulnerable to severe diseases.
    Credit: WHO

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