Access to better Health-care Facilities can reduce 71% of Neonatal deaths in India

Access to better Health-care Facilities can reduce 71% of Neonatal deaths in India

by Shruthi Venkatesh December 18 2018, 9:30 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 26 secs

According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) ‘Survive and Thrive’ report released at the Partners’ Forum, it is said that India can avert 71% of an estimated 6 lakh neonatal deaths each year if all mothers deliver at a healthcare facility, have access to caesarean section services, safe blood and have special care for sick newborns. In neonatal deaths (when a baby dies in the first 28 days of life), one may have many questions about how and why it happened. The health care provider can help as much as possible to give a parent the utmost knowledge about the baby’s death. 

(The Financial Express)

Neonatal death happens in about 4 in 1,000 babies (less than 1 percent) each year in the United States. In a UNICEF report released in February, India ranks below its neighbours (25.4 deaths per 1,000 births) – Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan in neonatal risk, but fares much better than Pakistan, which was ranked among the lowest in the list. There are important rural–urban and socioeconomic differences in the neonatal death. The death in rural areas is twice that in urban areas (31 vs. 15 per 1000 live births). The divergence is more marked difference of 60% or more in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand and Kerala.   

Across the world, hispanic black women are more likely to have a baby die than women of other races or ethnicities. “It is estimated that about 5.3 million children under the age of 5 died worldwide in 2017, of which 2.5 million were newborns. This means, 45% of all the deaths in children were in zero to 28-day olds. In India, the proportion is higher at 62%,” said Omar Abdi, deputy executive director, UNICEF.

This is a quarter of all the global neonatal deaths. Of all the deaths, 80% neonates had low-birth weight and two-thirds were born prematurely, the report revealed. Between 1990 and 2015, there was a 66% fall in under-five mortality, which was faster than the global reduction of 55%. This is because of the stable healthcare programmes which were implemented strictly in order to gain the best healthcare facility. “During this period, the reduction of deaths in neonates was just 56% in India. This is because even though vaccination and other government programmes were steadily reducing under-five mortality, neonatal mortality remained stagnant between 2002 and 2007,” said Gagan Gupta, chief of health programmes, UNICEF-India.

With a focus on providing good care to sick newborns, the government of India has set up 794 special newborn care units which provided help to 25 million newborns. “These initiatives resulted in saving 840 additional lives of children each day as compared to four years ago,” said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inauguration of the session of the Partners’ Forum at Vigyan Bhavan.

This rate of decline between the years 1990 – 2015, brings India back on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals target for under-five mortality of 25 per 1,000 live births by 2030.

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