News / Health

2.6 Million Babies Stillborn Worldwide

Pregnant women watch television as they wait in the prenatal ward at Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone (2010 File)
Pregnant women watch television as they wait in the prenatal ward at Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone (2010 File)

The World Health Organization estimates some 2.6 million stillbirths occurred worldwide in 2009, the overwhelming majority in developing countries.  This first comprehensive set of estimates appears as part of a series of articles on stillbirths published in the British medical journal, The Lancet.

Every day, the World Health Organization reports more than 7,200 babies are stillborn - ninety-eight percent of them occur in low and middle-income countries.  But, WHO notes, high-income countries are not immune, with one in 320 babies stillborn.  WHO says this rate has changed little in the past decade.

The lowest rates of stillbirth, two per 1,000 live births, are in Finland, followed by Singapore, Denmark and Norway.  The highest rates, 47 per 1000, are in Pakistan followed by Nigeria, Bangladesh, Djibouti and Senegal.

The data show about two-thirds or 1.8 million stillbirths occur in just 10 countries.  The highest numbers are found in sub-Saharan Africa and in Southeast Asia.  

The new estimates show the number of stillbirths worldwide has declined by just over one percent per year, from three million in 1995 to 2.6 million in 2009.   This is even slower than reductions for both maternal and child mortality in the same period.

Catherine d’Arcangues of WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research says the causes are many.

"There are definitely causes during childbirth, such as obstructed labor.  There are causes due to infections in pregnancy," she said. For example, it is quite a shame to think there are two million cases of congenital syphilis a year, a disease, which really should be eradicated…Other infections such as malaria, HIV also induce stillbirth. We also know that with advancing age, mothers tend to experience most stillbirth and also with their first child."

D’Arcangues notes almost half of all stillbirths happen when the woman is in labor.  She says these 1.2 million deaths are directly related to the lack of skilled care at this critical time.

Department Director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Frederik Froen, says many stillbirths go unrecorded, so they are not seen as a major public health problem.  

He says the vast majority of these stillbirths are not given a name.  They are not held or dressed by the mother.  They do not have a funeral.  He says they are disposed of in the simplest possible way.

"That invisibility at the personal level is also seen for the mothers," he said.  "A large proportion of them are marginalized and there is significant stigma associated to having a stillbirth.  One out of four stillbirths around the globe are thought to be - thought by community to be caused by the mother’s own sins by witchcraft and evil spirits.  And, in sub-Saharan Africa, evil spirits and maternal sins are equally seen as causes as medical causes are."

The World Health Organization says there are a number of well-known interventions that, if universally applied, could avert more than one million stillbirths.

These include comprehensive emergency obstetric care, detection and treatment of syphilis, malaria prevention, detection and management of fetal growth restriction, of hypertension and diabetes during pregnancy.

WHO says strengthening family planning services also would save lives by reducing the numbers of unintended pregnancies.


You May Like

Malaysian PM Ends Vacation Over Floods

Najib Razak had been criticized for golfing in Hawaii with US president while country suffered More

Photogallery Fear Amid Remembrances for Tsunami Victims

Across continent, services and tributes acknowledge 220,000 victims of 2004 Indian Ocean disaster; region remains inadequately prepared, experts say More

Liberia’s House Speaker Denies Manipulating Election Outcome

Alex Tyler said he’s being used as a scapegoat by people who are refusing to accept defeat in the December 20 special senatorial election More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid