Japan is the best country in terms of neonatal mortality rate (NMR) across the world, with Pakistan being the worst, according to the latest report by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
In a list of over 200 countries released by UNICEF, Pakistan having a NMR of 45.6 was followed by Central African Republic (42.3), Afghanistan (40), Somalia (38.8) and Lesotho (38.5).
Neonatal mortality rate is defined as the number of baby deaths per 1,000 live births during the first 28 days of life.
According to the list, Japan is the best country with an NMR of 0.9, followed by Iceland (1.0), Singapore (1.1), Finland (1.2) and Slovenia (1.3).
India has a NMR of 25.4, which means at least 25 babies die within 28 days in every 1,000 live births.
Henrietta H Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director, said that the numbers indicate that the world is failing its poorest babies.
While we have more than halved the number of deaths among children under the age of five in the last quarter-century, we have not made similar progress in ending deaths among children less than one month old. Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly, we are failing the world’s poorest babies.Henrietta H Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director
While putting out the numbers, the report also stated the possible reasons behind a bad NMR.
“More than 80 per cent of newborn deaths are due to prematurity, complications during birth or infections such as pneumonia and sepsis, the report says. These deaths can be prevented with access to well-trained midwives, along with proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact and good nutrition. However, a shortage of well-trained health workers and midwives means that thousands don’t receive the life-saving support they need to survive,” said the report.
(With inputs from UNICEF Neonatal Mortality Rates Report, 2018 )
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