Pakistan is reported to have the worst new-born mortality rate in the world, says a report by UNICEF.
A report on Tuesday said that babies who are born in the most poorest countries in the world, mostly Africa, face “alarming risk” of death which is 50 times higher then rich countries. Sadly, Pakistan is in that list too.
A baby born in Pakistan — the country with the worst newborn mortality rate — faced a one in 22 chance of death, whereas a newborn in Japan had only a one in 1,111 risk of dying, says the report.
“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,” adds the report.
Countries with Highest Newborn Mortality Rates
Those eight countries with a one in a 24 chance of death are in the Central African Republic:
- South Sudan
- Cote d’Ivoire
According to the report, every year around 2.6 million babies do not survive through their first month.
The report was released in conjunction with the launch of a global campaign “Every Child Alive”, aimed at ensuring “affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and newborn.”
“More than 80 per cent of newborn deaths can be prevented”, the report says, “with access to well-trained midwives, with proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact and good nutrition.”
But the problem with underdeveloped or developing nations is the lack of well-trained health workers and midwives, whereas, in rich countries like Norway there are around 18 doctors, nurses and midwives for every 10,000 people. Due to this, every year millions of babies die the day they are born.
In Pakistan, women give birth to babies in cars parked in the middle of the road because of traffic jams due to a VIP movement or right outside the hospitals because the doctors refuse to treat them. A lot of these babies don’t even survive.
In December last year, a mother give birth to a baby girl right outside a hospital in Mardan, as the doctors denied her admission because of an already packed Gynae ward. As a result, the baby died due to severe cold.
In general, babies born in richer countries fare far better, but there are differences within countries. Babies born to the poorest families are 40 percent more likely to die than those born to the least poor.
Since improvements to health care can be expensive, “it is crucial to invest the money in a smart way,” UNICEF’s global maternity and newborn program chief Willibald Zeck told AFP.
“Still, among countries that have made dramatic improvements is low-income Rwanda, which more than halved its rate from 1990 to 2016, illustrating that political will to invest in strong health systems… is critical,” the report said.
Although, education matters too. Babies who are born to mother with no education at all faces twice the risk of early death as compared to the babies born to mothers who at least have a secondary education.
Countries with Lowest Newborn Mortality Rates
- Iceland (a one in 1,000 chance of death)
- Singapore (one in 909)
- Finland (one in 833)
- Estonia and Slovenia (both one in 769)
- Cyprus (one in 714)
- Belarus, Luxembourg, Norway and South Korea (all with risks of one in 667).
“While the last quarter-century has seen broad improvements in older children’s health, we have not made similar progress in ending deaths among children less than one month old,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director.
“Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly we are failing the world’s poorest babies”, she added.