The United Nations children’s fund reports newborn babies in some of the poorest, most dangerous countries in the world are up to 50 times more likely to die than are newborns in some of the world’s richest, safest countries.
While the last quarter-century has seen broad improvements in older children’s health, “we have not made similar progress in ending deaths among children less than one month old,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director.
A survey of 195 countries finds a shocking disparity in the mortality rates of newborn babies in poor and rich countries, and most of those deaths are preventable. On average, it reports 27 deaths out of 1,000 births in poor countries compared to 3 deaths out of 1,000 in rich countries.
While Pakistan is the lowest ranked country with a one in 22 chance of death, the survey notes eight of the 10 most dangerous places to be born are in sub-Saharan Africa. Of the 10 highest-risk countries, eight are in sub-Saharan Africa. They are: the Central African Republic, Somalia, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau and South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Mali and Chad.
Japan tops the rankings with only one newborn death out of 1,111.