India alongside Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo and Ethiopia have been identified as responsible for half of all newborn deaths in the world. According to a United Nations report titled “Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017”, it was revealed that 5.6 million children died before reaching the age of five in 2016 even if this is a marked decrease compared to year 2000 when nearly 9.9 million children had died before turning five.
Despite the progress, neonatal deaths — defined as deaths during the first 28 days of life accounted for 46 percent or 7,000 every day. Another 2.6 million babies were stillborn in 2016, the report said. While India was accountable for 24 percent of these new-born deaths, Pakistan accounted for 10 percent, Nigeria 9 percent, the Democratic Republic of Congo 4 percent and 3 percent of the deaths occurred in Ethiopia. Pneumonia and diarrhea caused 16 per cent and 8 per cent of deaths respectively among children under five globally. Thirty percent of newborns succumbed to preterm birth complications and complications during labor or child birth last year. “It is unconscionable that in 2017, pregnancy and childbirth are still life-threatening conditions for women, and that 7,000 newborns die daily,” Tim Evans, Senior Director of Health Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group, said in a statement on Thursday. “The lives of 50 million children under five have been saved since 2000, a testimony to the serious commitment by governments and development partners to tackle preventable child deaths,” said Stefan Swartling Peterson, Chief of Health at UNICEF.
“But unless we do more to stop babies from dying the day they are born, or days after their birth, this progress will remain incomplete. We have the knowledge and technologies that are required — we just need to take them where they are most needed,” Peterson said.