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Study: Bangladesh among top 10 countries with highest newborn deaths

  • Published at 10:30 am February 22nd, 2018
  • Last updated at 10:41 am February 22nd, 2018
Study: Bangladesh among top 10 countries with highest newborn deaths
Bangladesh is still among the top 10 countries with the highest number of newborn deaths in 2016, said a report published by Unicef. The report said 88% of neonatal deaths in Bangladesh are from three preventable causes. In addition to the newborn deaths, 83,000 stillbirths occur across Bangladesh every year. According to the report, Bangladesh ranked 8th in the list of highest number of neonatal deaths, making up around 2% of all newborn deaths globally. Around 62 newborn dies in every 1,000 births. However, Bangladesh is not being considered as the riskiest place for child birth. More than 241,000 newborns were dying in 1990. However, in 2016 the death toll was reduced to 62,000.

Every Child Alive campaign

The global report on newborn mortality titled "Every Child Alive" was published by Unicef on February 20. A global campaign of the same name was also launched on the same day to end neonatal deaths in Bangladesh. The global campaign will focus on 10 countries- Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan and the United Republic of Tanzania. Newborn deaths in these ten countries account for more than half of the total newborn deaths across the world. In a press statement, Unicef Bangladesh representative Edouard Beigbeder said: “No baby should die of preventable causes, and we need to extend affordable, quality health care to every mother and baby. “Through this campaign Unicef aims to mobilize public support to influence policy change, fund solutions and engage with individuals, businesses and policy-makers to make this happen." The campaign aims to build consensus on the principle that every mother and every baby deserves affordable, quality healthcare, which will support the goals of Unicef and its partner organizations. Some of the major goals of Unicef include recruiting and training doctors, nurses and midwives with expertise in maternal and newborn care at all levels of the health system. The United Nations body also aims to guarantee clean, functional health facilities equipped with water, soap, electricity, life-saving drugs and equipment within the reach of every mother and baby. Empowering adolescent girls, mothers and families to demand and receive quality care is also one of Unicef's goals. Through the campaign, Unicef is issuing an urgent appeal to government, health care providers, donors, the private sector, families and businesses to keep every child alive. It hopes that Bangladesh will join this global call to contain all preventable child and neonatal deaths by 2030. The report highlights that the trend shows globally, deaths of newborn babies remain alarmingly high, particularly among the world’s poorest countries.

Most newborn deaths are preventable

In low-income countries, the average newborn mortality rate is 27 deaths per 1,000 births. These deaths can be prevented with access to well-trained midwives, proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact and good nutrition, the report read. Bangladesh, however, has achieved Millennium Development Goal (MGD) 4 by progressing and reducing child mortality. The National Newborn Campaign was launched in November, 2017, which promotes affordable interventions at community and household level for essential newborn care for all babies. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) is working on prioritizing effective interventions for maternal and newborn health, with support from Unicef, and other partners. To this extent, MoFHW has introduced the Special Newborn Care Units (SCANUs) in 44 districts of Bangladesh for providing specialized care for ill newborns in public hospitals. In coming years, these SCANUs will be expanded in the remaining 20 districts. The "Every Child Alive" campaign will help speed up this goal.