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UNICEF urge Africa to ensure newborns survive first days of life

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday called on African countries to ensure more newborns survive their first days of life.

In a statement issued in Nairobi, UNICEF said about 48,000 babies will be born in the Eastern and Southern Africa region on New Year’s Day.

Leila Pakkala, UNICEF’s Regional Director in Eastern and Southern Africa, said babies born in Eastern and Southern Africa will account for 12 percent of the estimated 386,000 babies to be born globally on New Year’s Day.

"This New Year, UNICEF’s resolution is to help give every child more than an hour, more than a day, more than a month—more than survival," Pakkala said.

According to UNICEF, almost 58 percent of these births will take place in five countries within the region, with the largest number of births on New Year’s Day projected for Ethiopia.

The UN agency said Ethiopia will have 9,023 new borns, Tanzania will have 5,995 new births, Uganda (4,953), Kenya (4,237) and Angola (3,417).

"We call on governments and partners to maintain and expand their efforts to save millions of children’s lives by providing proven, low-cost solutions," Pakkala said.

UNICEF said sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 38 percent of all newborn deaths in 2016.

An estimated 2,600 children around the world died within the first 24 hours, every day of the year in 2016, according to UNICEF.

Some 136,000 newborns died in Ethiopia and Tanzania combined in 2016, placing them in fifth and ninth position, respectively, among the ten countries with the highest neonatal deaths in the world.

Among those children, more than 80 percent of all newborn deaths are due to preventable and treatable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia.

"We are now entering the era when all the world’s newborns should have the opportunity to see the 22nd Century. Unfortunately, nearly half of the children born this year likely won’t. We should all do much more," Pakkala said.

According to UNICEF, despite noticeable improvements in child survival within the continent, child mortality remains high and important challenges need to be met to accommodate the projected increase in births and prevent African countries with high fertility rates from falling further below international benchmarks for maternal, newborn and child care.

UNICEF said it will in February launch Every Child Alive, a global campaign that demands and delivers affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and newborn.

"These include a steady supply of clean water and electricity at health facilities, the presence of a skilled health attendant during birth, disinfecting the umbilical cord, breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, and skin-to-skin contact between the mother and child," it said.


Half of New Year babies from nine countries: UNICEF

DHAKA Bangladesh (Xinhua) -- Approximately 8,370 babies will be born in Bangladesh on New Year’s Day, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said Monday.

Bangladeshi babies will account for 2.17 percent of the estimated 385,793 babies to be born globally on New Year’s Day, it said in a statement.

According to UNICEF, globally, over half of these births are estimated to take place in nine countries including India (69,070), China (44,760), Nigeria (20,210), Pakistan (14,910), Indonesia (13,370), the United States (11,280), the Democratic Republic of Congo (9,400), Ethiopia (9,020) and Bangladesh (8,370).

While many babies will survive, some will not make it past their first day, said the UN children’s agency, adding that Kiribati’s Christmas Island, a small island in the Pacific, will most likely welcome 2018’s first baby, and the United States its last.




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