Some "2.6 million" babies die each year within one month of being born, the United Nations Children's Fund warned today in a 44-page report.
Each year, of the 2.6 million newborns, one million take their last breath on the day they are born, the report added. The fatal risk of dying as a newborn is "enormously dependent" on where the baby is born.
"Babies born in Japan stand the best chance of surviving, with just 1 in 1,000 dying during the first 28 days," UNICEF said. However babies in Pakistan are worst off with a mortality rate of 46 in every 1,000 "before the end of their first month".
"While we have more than halved the number of deaths among children under the age of five in the last quarter century, we have not made similar progress in ending deaths among children less than one month old," UNICEF's Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore said.
Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly, we are failing the world's poorest babies
Highest newborn mortality rates
More than 80 per cent of newborn deaths are due to "prematurity, complications during birth or infections such as pneumonia and sepsis", the report warned. The deaths can be prevented with "access" to trained midwives, medicine and clean water. But the lack of trained health workers means thousands of pregnant mothers do not receive "life-saving" support needed to simply keep babies alive. The report went on to claim that Norway only has "218 doctors, nurses and midwives to serve 10,000 people".
In response, UNICEF this month launched a new campaign called "Every Child ALIVE" with the main motive to urge governments, businesses, health organisations and communities to provide quality health coverage. The campaign seeks to build a consensus for the principle that "every mother and every baby deserves affordable, quality care".