One million babies die on the day they are born

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Millions of children die before their fifth birthday

Around one million newborns do not survive their first and only day of life, according to the sobering result of a current report by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Save the Children. Just under three million children died within 28 days of their birth in 2012 and 6.6 million before their fifth birthday, reports the aid organization. "18,000 children still die each day," Save the Children said.

While “the number of children who die before the age of five annually has dropped from 12.6 million to 6.6 million since 1990” in 2012, around two million more newborns could be saved every year, “if we have avoidable causes of death in newborns ”, Save the Children reported when the“ Ending Newborn Deaths ”report was presented in London. The report shows that the problem of newborn mortality continues to be greater than expected. In 2012, around 1.2 million stillbirths, caused by cardiac arrest during labor, were recorded. Another million newborns did not survive their first day of life. Accordingly, 2.2 million deaths occurred during labor and the first 24 hours after birth. Almost three million children survive no longer than four weeks and 6.6 million children died in 2012 before their fifth birthday. The "mortality rate in Africa was four times higher than in Europe," reports the NGO.

Deaths from premature births, birth complications and infections The aid organization also mentions the most common causes of childhood deaths in its report. Save the Children reports that “premature births, complications during childbirth and infections” should be mentioned above all. "We know what needs to be done to combat these causes," the NGO continued. Many deaths among newborns could be prevented, for example, by "sustainable health care during the most risky period during labor, delivery and immediately after birth". Save the Children demanded that well-trained and equipped obstetricians should be by every woman's side without restriction and immediately after birth.

Professional obstetrics could significantly reduce the number of deaths According to experts, professional obstetrics could prevent 45 percent of fatalities during labor and 43 percent of newborn deaths. Too many babies would still die today because mothers do not receive professional help during labor and delivery. This particularly affects "women who live in rural areas, who are among the poorest population groups or ethnic minorities and who have inadequate education," reports Save the Children. In many countries, "the poorest families are twice more likely to lose a baby than the richest." The aid agency rated the situation as "terrible and unacceptable." If the problem of newborn deaths is not addressed urgently, there is a risk that progress in reducing child mortality is stalling. In the current report compared to the previous year, there was already no significant improvement.

More equitable distribution of health services demanded Save the Children concludes that "substantial reforms are (are) necessary to ensure that the poorest, and those in hard-to-reach areas, have access to professional health care at birth." Health care for mothers, newborns and children. Health care must be freely accessible to them and there should be enough health workers, the NGO demands. A "fairer distribution of basic health services in 47 countries" could reduce the number of deaths among babies by 950,000, which is equivalent to "reducing the mortality rate among newborns in these countries by 38 percent". Kathrin Wieland, Managing Director of Save the Children Germany, emphasized that "the first day in a child's life is the most dangerous" and "40 million women give birth to their children on the floor of their home or even outdoors under the supervision of a professional." Often this ends in tragedy. Trained health workers avoided many of these superfluous deaths and "we have to start there because every child has a right to life," explained Wieland.

Save the Children further reports that "increasing health spending to € 3.70 per person per year could prevent 147 million children, five million women and 32 million stillbirths from dying." The "economic and social benefits would be up to nine times higher than the investments by 2035," explains the aid organization in its current press release. (fp)

Image: Dieter Schütz /

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