The study findings indicate that several developing nations are still reporting a disproportionate number of child deaths. The results also showed that 99 percent of all newborn deaths occur in developing countries, with half of them taking place in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and the Democratic Republic of Congo combined.
In India alone, there are more than 900,000 newborn deaths each year, accounting for almost 28 percent of the global total, according to the WHO. In addition, Africa had the slowest decline in newborn deaths, at a rate of just 1 percent per year.
Lawn said, “This study shows in stark terms that where babies are born dramatically influences their chances of survival.” She then added, “Millions of babies should not be dying when there are proven, cost-effective interventions to prevent the leading causes of newborn death.”
Lawn pointed out that closer attention must be paid to newborn mortality rates to save the lives of more children. She explained that the three leading causes of newborn death are all easily preventable with proper care. These include preterm delivery, asphyxia (lack of oxygen), and severe infections. Lawn noted, “Training more midwives and other community health workers could save the lives of many more babies.” She then acknowledged, “We know that solutions as simple as keeping newborns warm, clean and properly breastfed can keep them alive.”
The researchers concluded that newborn deaths could be reduced by as much as one-third with simple preventive measures. With hospitals taking such measures as to provide antibiotics and implement resuscitation techniques, the number of deaths could be reduced by two-thirds. The study was recently published in the jounal PloS Medicine.