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“Progress made in terms of reduction”
Nearly three million babies die within the first month of their lives in the world, most from preventable causes. More than a third of these babies die on the day they are born – making the birth day the riskiest day for newborns and mothers almost everywhere, according to the 14th annual ‘State of the World’s Mothers’ report.
Save the Children presenting its report on Thursday at the Hilton Hotel, noted complications during birth, premature births and infections as the three major causes of death. “Helping babies survive the first day, as well as the first week of life, represents that last great challenge for many developing countries in reducing child mortality and helping developing nations achieve the MDG4 targets ,” stated Ned Olney, Country Director of Save the Children.
The report also states that Ethiopia has made important progress in reducing mortality rates among babies within the first 28 days of life. From 1990-2011, newborn mortality fell by 40% – the 8th largest reduction in sub-Saharan Africa – and substantially more than the regional average for Eastern and Southern Africa (32%).
The Country Director also stated that the recently introduced Community Based Newborn Care, which is designed to prevent severe infections in mothers and newborns following birth, also demonstrates the efforts of the Ethiopian government to reduce newborn mortality.
The report underlines that, despite the achievements that are seen, much still remains to be done in order to address the problem. Statistics on Ethiopia shows that, each year, an estimated 28,800 babies die on the day they are born. This number suggests that it is the 6th largest burden of first-day deaths in the world.
“By focusing on newborns and their survival during the first few days of life, Ethiopia can make even more progress in reducing the deaths of all children under 5. Newborn health is the last frontier of children’s health in Ethiopia,” added Olney.
According to Save the Children’s annual Mothers’ Index, which is part of the report that assesses the well-being of mothers and children in 176 countries, Finland, Sweden and Norway top the rankings this year with the lowest mortality rate. Sierra Leone, Somalia and DR of Congo are at the bottom, with the highest, while Ethiopia is ranked 141st in the index.
Other global statistics show that every year, 40 million women give birth at home without the help of a skilled birth attendant; every day 800 women die during pregnancy or childbirth; 8,000 newborn babies die during their first month of life; and newborn deaths account for 43 percent of all deaths among children under age 5.