A report released by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) indicates that despite a high global neonatal mortality rate of 2.6 million, the situation is more alarming in low-income countries.
The report named the African continent as the most dangerous place on the earth to be born.
On the global line, there is an average of 27 deaths per 1,000 new-borns.
The Central African Republic has the highest neonatal mortality rate in Africa and has more than 42 deaths per 1,000 births.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore says the situation can be improved.
“The number of deaths of children under five has halved in the past quarter century, but it is clear that we are failing in the world’s poorest countries,” Fore said.
According to the report, Pakistan has the worst neonatal death rate in the world, losing 45.6 infants per 1,000, but the next 10 countries, excluding Afghanistan, are all in Africa.
South Africa is ranked 11th with a mortality rate of 12.4 per 1000.
“There is nothing surprising in this report. Neomortality is still high in our country (Cote d’Ivoire),” said a doctor from Abobo General Hospital in northern Abidjan.
“The reasons are that women do not always follow well the advice we give them during pregnancy, and especially after giving birth,” he added.
“Côte d’Ivoire has improved its score compared to a few years ago, but that seems not enough yet,” he concluded.
Countries with the highest neonatal mortality rates according to the UNICEF report:
Pakistan – 45.6
Central African Republic – 42.3
Afghanistan – 40
Somalia – 38.8
Lesotho – 38.5
Guinea-Bissau – 38.2
South Sudan – 37.9
Ivory Coast – 36.6
Mali – 35.7
Chad – 35.1
South Africa – 12.4