February 25, 2014

India reports 29% of newborn deaths in a year globally

A million babies die within a day of their birth globally, with India accounting for an astounding 29 percent, a leading NGO said on Tuesday.
"India alone accounts for an astounding 29 per cent of the global deaths of newborns on their very first day of birth. This is something which cannot be taken for granted in a country like India which is one of the fastest growing economies of the world," Save the Children said in a report.
The report, however, said India has made considerable progress in the arena of healthcare during the past decade but glaring inequalities still rule the roost. "These inequalities stem from geographical, social, cultural, and economic factors. India is a land of contrasts and the adage holds true in the case of child mortality as well. In spite of steady improvement, there is room for more, much more."  The UK-based NGO said while the under-five mortality rate in India has more than halved since 1990 from 126 per 1000 live births to 56, what is shocking is the fact that it is three times higher among the poorest households of India vis-a-vis the richest.
"At the same time, the newborn mortality rate over the same period has come down from 51 per 1000 live births to 31 but again it is much higher among the poor," Save the Children said. Meanwhile, Pakistan is ranked among the countries with the highest stillbirth rates at 40.7 per 1,000 births, followed by Nigeria (32.7), Sierra Leone (30.8) and Somalia (29.7).
It is largely due to delays in receiving appropriate care from a skilled health worker. The report, titled "Ending Newborn Deaths", said 6.6 million children around the world died in 2012 before their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes.