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Nigeria, four others account for half of newborn deaths, says UN

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A new United Nations (UN) report indicates that Nigeria and four other countries account for half of all newborn deaths.

Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017, notes: “Most newborn deaths occurred in two regions: Southern Asia (39 per cent) and sub-Saharan Africa (38 per cent). Five countries accounted for half of all new-born deaths: India (24 per cent), Pakistan (10 per cent), Nigeria (nine per cent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (four per cent) and Ethiopia (three per cent).”

The report was released yesterday by the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Bank, and the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), which make up the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME).

Every day, in 2016, 15,000 children died before their fifth birthday, 46 per cent of them – or 7000 babies – died in the first 28 days of life; and at current trends, 60 million children will die before their fifth birthday between 2017 and 2030, half of them newborns, the report explains.

It reveals that although the number of children dying before the age of five is at a new low – 5.6 million in 2016, compared with nearly 9.9 million in 2000 – the proportion of under-five deaths in the newborn period has increased from 41 per cent to 46 per cent during the same period.

It adds that many lives can be saved if global inequities are reduced. If all countries achieved the average mortality of high-income countries, 87 per cent of under-five deaths could have been averted and almost five million lives could have been saved in 2016.


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