Nearly ten per cent of new-born deaths in the world last year occurred in Nigeria, a new report by the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, has revealed.
According to the report, five countries accounted for half of all new-born deaths last year, with Nigeria third in the list. These are India (24 per cent), Pakistan (10 per cent), Nigeria (9 per cent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (4 per cent) and Ethiopia (3 per cent). Most new-born deaths occurred in two regions: Southern Asia (39 per cent) and sub-Saharan Africa (38 per cent).
The report showed that 15,000 children died globally before their fifth birthday in 2016, with 46 per cent of the deaths (7.000) occurring in the first 28 days of life.
The World Health Organisation issued a press statement on Thursday on the new study titled: Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017.
The study reveals that although the number of children dying before the age of five is at a new low – 5.6 million in 2016 compared to nearly 9.9 million in 2000 – the proportion of under-five deaths in the new-born period has increased from 41 per cent to 46 per cent during the same period.
The UNICEF Chief of Health, Stefan Peterson, said though the lives of 50 million children under-five have been saved since 2000 through increased level of commitment by governments and development partners to tackle preventable child deaths, more still needs to be done to stop babies from dying the day they are born, or days after their birth.
“We have the knowledge and technologies that are required – we just need to take them where they are most needed.”
According to the report released by UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the Population Division of UNDESA, which make up the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME), at current trends, 60 million children will die before their fifth birthday between 2017 and 2030, half of them new-borns, .
The Nigerian Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, had earlier this year described the high mortality rate of under-five in the country as unacceptable.