News / Health

    Report: 3 Million Newborns Die Within First Month

    Nurses hold newborn babies in Sidon, Lebanon, Oct. 31, 2011.
    Nurses hold newborn babies in Sidon, Lebanon, Oct. 31, 2011.

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    Joe DeCapua
    The humanitarian organization Save the Children has released its annual State of the World’s Mothers report. It says despite much progress being made in reducing maternal and child deaths, every year, three million babies die within the first month of life. Many just live a few hours.


    Save the Children President and CEO Carolyn Miles said there’s a widespread and mistaken belief that little can be done to save newborn lives in developing countries. As a result, many babies die.

    Save the Children's annual report says many newborn lives can be saved with simple and inexpensive solutions. (Credit:STC)Save the Children's annual report says many newborn lives can be saved with simple and inexpensive solutions. (Credit:STC)
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    Save the Children's annual report says many newborn lives can be saved with simple and inexpensive solutions. (Credit:STC)
    Save the Children's annual report says many newborn lives can be saved with simple and inexpensive solutions. (Credit:STC)
    “This year’s report we really focused in on newborns. And we found that a baby’s birthday is actually the most dangerous day of their life. More than one million babies are dying the actual day that they’re born.”

    There are several reasons why they’re so at risk that first day.

    “It’s when they can die of very preventable things. So babies are dying of infection. They’re dying of complications at premature birth and they’re dying of very simple things like not breathing at birth,” she said.

    Save the Children's Mother's Index  

    Best countries to be a mother
        1.    Finland
        2.    Sweden
        3.    Norway

    Worst countries to be a mother
        1.    Democratic Republic of the Congo
        2.    Somalia
        3.    Sierra Leone
    Miles said one region of the world stands out as being the worst for newborns.

    “Sub-Saharan Africa is the place where this is the biggest issue. And if you look at the index that we put together, the bottom 10 in that index are all sub-Saharan African countries. From a percentage standpoint that’s where the most babies are dying.”

    Forty percent of first day newborn deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Of the 176 countries that are ranked in the Mothers Index, DRC is at the very bottom. Rounding out the bottom 10 are Somalia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Gambia, Nigeria, Chad and Ivory Coast.
    Top 10 countries for newborn deaths in 2013.Top 10 countries for newborn deaths in 2013.


    Miles said, “I think the issue in sub-Saharan Africa is really getting the care that these newborns need to the places where they’re being born. So, a lot of times the health system ends at a district level and there may not be a health post that’s accessible to these women. So, one of the solutions here is getting more frontline health workers out into these communities to help mothers when they’re giving birth.”
    The Save the Children report says there are four simple interventions that could turn things around – each one costing between 13-cents and six dollars. First, steroid injections can be used for women in pre-term labor to reduce premature newborn deaths from breathing problems. Resuscitation devices can save babies who do not breathe at all at birth, while injectable antibiotics can treat newborns for sepsis and pneumonia.

    The final recommendation prevents umbilical cord infections.

    “We’re looking at the use of a very simple antibiotic called chlorhexidine, which is put on the umbilical cord after the baby is born. And in Nigeria, the tradition is to use mud or cow dung or something like that on the umbilical cord and that obviously can have really dire consequences for babies,” she said.

    Miles also cited a tradition in Nepal, which can put babies at risk. Women there, she said, may be encouraged to give birth in the barn with the animals.

    While the recommendations are simple and cheap, they’re often not implemented in developing countries. The report blames that, in part, on a lack of political will by government leaders.

    The State of the World’s Mothers report lists Finland as the top country for mothers and newborns. It’s followed by Sweden, Norway, Iceland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Australia. The top 10 are credited with high levels of support and respect for women.

    As for the United States, Miles said, “The U.S. comes in 30 in the index this year. So that is not terrific, I would say. Thirtieth is not where I think most American women and mothers think they would end up. The disparity in the United States I think is what really drives the differences. So it is very much tracked to poverty.”

    In fact, the United States leads industrialized countries in first day deaths for newborns, followed by Canada and Switzerland.

    As for the major emerging economies – the so-called BRICS nations – the 2013 Mother’s Index ranks Brazil 78th and Russia 59th.  India is in the 142nd position, while China is 68th and South Africa 78th. 

    Country Rank:

    Finland 1
    Turkey 60
    Swaziland 119
    Sweden 2
    Romania 61
    Bhutan 120
    Norway 3
    Mauritius 62
    Lao People's Democratic Republic 121
    Iceland 4
    Oman 63
    Nepal 121
    Netherlands 5
    Trinidad and Tobago 64
    Angola 123
    Denmark 6
    Kazakhstan 65
    Morocco 124
    Spain 7
    Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 65
    Tajikistan 124
    Belgium 8
    Bahamas 67
    Senegal 126
    Germany 9
    China 68
    Vanuatu 127
    Australia 10
    Lebanon 68
    Guatemala 128
    Austria 11
    Malaysia 70
    Sao Tome and Principe 129
    Switzerland 12
    Ecuador 71
    Cambodia 130
    Portugal 13
    Saint Lucia 72
    Lesotho 131
    Slovenia 14
    Peru 73
    Uganda 132
    Singapore 15
    Algeria 74
    Micronesia (Federated States of) 133
    France 16
    El Salvador 74
    Solomon Islands 133
    Italy 17
    Ukraine 74
    United Republic of Tanzania 135
    New Zealand 17
    South Africa 77
    Bangladesh 136
    Greece 19
    Brazil 78
    Burundi 137
    Ireland 20
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 79
    Mozambique 138
    Estonia 21
    Thailand 80
    Pakistan 139
    Canada 22
    Albania 81
    Equatorial Guinea 140
    United Kingdom 23
    Cape Verde 81
    Ethiopia 141
    Czech Republic 24
    Colombia 83
    India 142
    Israel 25
    Republic of Moldova 84
    Sudan 143
    Belarus 26
    Iran (Islamic Republic of) 85
    Malawi 144
    Lithuania 26
    Maldives 86
    Afghanistan 145
    Poland 28
    Vietnam 86
    Ghana 146
    Luxembourg 29
    Belize 88
    Eritrea 147
    United States 30
    Nicaragua 89
    South Sudan 147
    Japan 31
    Sri Lanka 89
    Zimbabwe 147
    Republic of Korea 31
    Mongolia 91
    Togo 150
    Cuba 33
    Dominican Republic 92
    Madagascar 151
    Croatia 34
    Bolivia (Plurinational State of) 93
    Myanmar 152
    Slovakia 35
    Georgia 94
    Cameroon 153
    Argentina 36
    Armenia 95
    Mauritania 154
    Serbia 36
    Jamaica 96
    Djibouti 155
    Latvia 38
    Panama 96
    Kenya 156
    Cyprus 39
    Azerbaijan 98
    Congo 157
    Macedonia 40
    Turkmenistan 99
    Papua New Guinea 158
    Costa Rica 41
    Suriname 100
    Zambia 159
    Montenegro 42
    Namibia 101
    Benin 160
    Bulgaria 43
    Tonga 102
    Burkina Faso 161
    Bahrain 44
    Jordan 103
    Yemen 162
    Malta 45
    Kyrgyzstan 104
    Comoros 163
    Saudi Arabia 46
    Uzbekistan 105
    Haiti 164
    Bosnia and Herzegovina 47
    Indonesia 106
    Guinea-Bissau 165
    Barbados 48
    Philippines 106
    Liberia 166
    Mexico 49
    Gabon 108
    Côte d'Ivoire 167
    United Arab Emirates 50
    Guyana 109
    Chad 168
    Chile 51
    Timor-Leste 110
    Nigeria 169
    Grenada 52
    Honduras 111
    Gambia 170
    Hungary 52
    Syrian Arab Republic 112
    Central African Republic 171
    Uruguay 54
    Iraq 113
    Niger 172
    Kuwait 55
    Paraguay 114
    Mali 173
    Tunisia 56
    Samoa 115 Sierra Leone 174
    Libya 57
    Botswana 116
    Somalia 175
    Qatar 58
    Rwanda 117
    Democratic Republic of the Congo 176
    Russian Federation 59
    Egypt 118

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Chandrakant Pancholi from: New York
    May 07, 2013 10:27 AM
    ‘THOSE WHO PRODUCE LIKE RATS, LIVE LIKE RATS AND DIE LIKE RATS’

    I remember an angry quote by an Indian lady from the United States that is quoted above. “Save the Children” should concentrate on distributing family planning devices and see to it that they are used as well as doing operations who need them.
    -Chandrakant Pancholi
    OverseasIndiaWeekly.com

    by: Tapeis from: West
    May 07, 2013 8:14 AM
    "3 Million Newborns Die Within First Month"

    On another note, the Third World renews it's disgust with wealthy Americans trying to adopt away their children.
    In Response

    by: Tapeis from: West
    May 07, 2013 9:01 AM
    I think that it would be morally wrong for me to have children when I know, in advance, that there's a good chance one of my children will starve or die from lack of modern care. For example, if I was on a deserted island, that's not a good time to impregnate my wife and try to have a dozen children. Why? Because it's too dangerous for her and for the babies.

    Perhaps what's also needed, in addition to sending wealth, is an education campaign to reduce the numbers of children to only those you know you can care for. After all, we don't let our 12 and 13 year old children have babies because they can't care for, nor are they prepared for, babies. Ah, the women are getting raped by their husbands? No excuse, then let's educate them both not to do that, hey, you're killing your future baby!
    We're not talking about rabbits, we're talking about equally trainable human beings who are responsible for their actions.

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