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Newborn deaths challenge to Indian MDG-4: Report

Posted on Mar 03 2014 | IBNS

Kolkata, Mar 3 : Three million babies in India died within 28 days of their birth, of which one million survived only 24 hours in 2012, revealed the global report titled 'Ending newborn deaths, ensuring every baby survives', prepared by the international child rights organization Save the Children, recently.

Despite seeing a two point decline in the Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) in the period 2010-2012 from 33 to 31 per 1000 births, India accounted for 26.6 percent of all newborn deaths globally in 2012, the report said.

The stark difference in NMR figures for the wealthy and poor households showed socioeconomic inequity as a critical factor in survival of newborn babies in the country.

While the newborn mortality rate among the wealthiest comprising 20 percent of the population stood at 26 per 1,000 babies, the infants born in the economically disadvantaged families got a lesser chance to survive.

The poorest households recorded 56 newborn deaths within the age of one month per 1,000 births.

The report looks into the causes behind the under five deaths across the world as a step towards formulating an action plan to child deaths across the world.

According to the report, first-day baby deaths, which accounted for 40 percent of neo-natal deaths in India, emerges as a major challenge for the nation in achieving Millenium Development Goals 4 (MDG 4), which requires countries to reduce child mortality rates by two thirds by 2015.

At least half of the first-day deaths occurring among the newborns in India can be pulled down by half by ensuring access to free and quality health care, and skilled birth attendants for every mother and baby, Save the Children said.

It also recommended warmth, initial breastfeeding, hygiene and resuscitation to protect newborns from dying within 24 hours of their birth.

Sensitising men across the communities about the importance of the mother and child wellbeing, women's education, addressing undernourishment in women were also suggested by the report.

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