UNICEF Report: Nigeria ranked 11th highest on newborn deaths

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The report said that globally in low-income countries, the average newborn mortality rate was 27 deaths per 1,000 births, while in high-income countries, it was three deaths per 1,000.

Unicef's Every Child Alive report shows Kiwi babies have a good chance of surviving their first month, but global deaths of newborn babies remained high.

Every year, one million babies die the day they are born.

Five of the 10 most unsafe countries to be born are in West and Central Africa, with infants there 50 times more likely to die within a month than if they were born in Japan or Iceland, according to the report.

More than 80% of newborn deaths are because of premature birth, complications during labour and delivery, and infections such as sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia. We are 36th in the world rankings - behind most European countries, Australia (2.2 deaths per 1000 babies) and Japan (0.9 deaths), but ahead of Denmark (3.2), Canada (3.2) and the United States (3.7).

Unicef said that if every country brought its newborn mortality rate down to the high-income average by the year 2030, a total of 16 million lives could be saved.

Babies born in Japan, Iceland and Singapore have the best chance at survival, while newborns in Pakistan, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan face the worst odds, UNICEF, said, in a statement.

In the recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) conducted by the Government of Nigeria in 2016/17, the rate of newborn deaths per 1000 births is 37.

India is now not on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target for neonatal mortality of 12 by 2030, the report notes. The fatal risk of dying as a newborn is "enormously dependent" on where the baby is born.

Affordable and quality healthcare solutions should be there for every mother and newborn. The report said that these deaths could be prevented with access to clean water and disinfectants, by breastfeeding within the first hour of life, skin to skin contact and the help of skilled midwives. The report went on to claim that Norway only has "218 doctors, nurses and midwives to serve 10,000 people".

Babies are more likely to die in Britain than in Cuba, Montenegro or Belarus, according to data that highlights the global scale of avoidable deaths.

Still, among countries that have made dramatic improvements is low-income Rwanda, which more than halved its rate from 1990 to 2016, illustrating that "political will to invest in strong health systems... is critical", the report said.

"For a relatively small amount of money, New Zealand can save the lives of babies throughout the Pacific".

Since 2013, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has been the main donor, funding about 40 per cent, of Unicef's Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) Programme, which supports 14 Pacific Island Countries and Territory (PICTs).

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