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A newborn dies every 39 seconds

Published May 20, 2014, 9:28 am IST
Updated Apr 1, 2019, 7:06 am IST
India has the highest number of newborn deaths in the world
Representational Photo   (DC archives)
 Representational Photo (DC archives)

New Delhi: India has the highest number of newborn deaths in the world. According to the new report, half of the newborn deaths worldwide occur in just five countries, with India recording the highest at 7,79,000 per year, followed by Nigeria (2,76,000), Pakistan (2,02,400), China (1,57,000), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (1,18,000).

A comprehensive new review published in the Lancet has revealed an enormous burden that stillbirths and newborn deaths continue to exert, with nearly 8,000 newborn babies dying every day (2·9 million deaths per year). According to experts although global and national figures conceal huge variations within and between different countries.


The team led by Professor Joy Lawn, at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Save the Children, UK,  suggest that even though overall rate of newborn deaths have been declining since 1990, the rate of reduction between 1990 and 2012 (2·0% average annual rate of reduction) is much lower than that for children aged 1-59 months (3·4%), and also lower than the maternal mortality between 1990 and 2013 (2·6%).

The authors estimated that 2·6 million stillbirths (during the last 3 months of pregnancy) occur annually (around 7000 every day). Significantly, an estimated 1·2 million women experience the loss of their baby during labour, after a full nine months of pregnancy.


These babies, who may die just five minutes before birth, account for nearly half of all stillbirths, but do not count in global data or have any global targets.
According to Professor Lawn, the study results highlight an important, yet largely unacknowledged, global problem.

“In most countries stillbirths do not get birth or death certificates, which contributes to their invisibility. Hence, most of the world’s newborn deaths and almost all stillbirths enter and leave the world without a piece of paper to record their existence. The fact that the vast majority of these deaths, which have a huge effect on the women and families involved, are never formally included in a country’s health registration systems which signifies acceptance that these deaths are inevitable, and ultimately links to inaction in the health sector.”