A baby stillborn every 16 seconds

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A stillborn baby is delivered every 16 seconds, which means nearly two-million infants over the course of a year never take their first breath, according to a new UN report published on Thursday. And the worst thing is that majority of these deaths could have been avoided with high-quality care antenatally and during birth, the report — Neglected Tragedy: The Global Burden of Stillbirths– said.

Globally, baby is stillborn every 16 seconds

Over 40 per cent of all stillbirths occurred during labour, a loss that could be prevented with improved monitoring and access to emergency obstetric care when required, said the report of the UNICEF, WHO, World Bank and DESA. The first ever joint global estimate said that though progress was made across the world since 2000, stillbirths have not declined as rapidly as maternal and newborn mortality. It also cautioned that an additional 19 million stillbirths will take place before 2030 if current trends continued. More than 200,000 additional stillbirths could occur over the next 12 months in 117 low- and middle-income countries due to COVID-related disruptions in health care services, the report mentioned.

The report stated that stillbirths remain a challenge even for high income countries, where a mother’s level of education is one of the greatest drivers of inequity, and ethnic minorities may lack access to sufficient quality health care. UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that that losing a child at birth or during pregnancy was a devastating tragedy for a family.

baby is stillborn nearly every minute


The comprehensive report specifies that still births are going to rise further. It said that about 200,000 additional stillbirths over a 12-month period in 117 low and middle income countries could happen as the pandemic has brought in reduction in health services.

Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Ali Pate said that COVID-19 had triggered a devastating secondary health crisis for women, children and adolescents due to disruptions in life-saving health services. Meanwhile, Fore said “beyond the loss of life, the psychological and financial costs for women, families and societies are severe and long lasting,” Fore affirmed. “A majority of stillbirths could have been prevented with high quality monitoring, proper antenatal care and a skilled birth attendant,” she said.

Stillborn nearly 5.400 every day nearly 164.000 every month nearly 2 million a year

Preventable losses

The report points out that the annual rate of reduction in stillbirth rate was just 2.3 per cent in the first two decades of this century when , compared to 2.9 per cent reduction in neonatal mortality and 4.3 per cent among children aged 1-59 months. Meanwhile, maternal mortality decreased by 2.0 per cent between 2000 and 2017. The ratio of the number of stillbirths to the number of under-five deaths in 2000 was 0.30.

In the past two decades, 48 million babies were stillborn Three in four stillbirths occur in sub-Saharan Africa or Southem Asia

It had increased to 0.38 by 2019. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of Stillbirths is rising and it has increased from 0.77 million in 2000 to 0.82 million in 2019. And in some high-income countries despite very low levels of neonatal mortality – more stillbirths than neonatal deaths occur, and in some cases, even surpass the number of infant deaths.

The report pointed out that a sound investment was needed to make stable the situation. It also noted that sound policy, programmes and investment was needed for better progress. They said that pregnant women need continued access to services, including their pregnancy and during childbirth. The report also urged governments and other partners to act urgently to avert stillborn deaths and ensure that every woman is being supported through pregnancy and childbirth by trained health care providers.

10% of births occur after the onset of labour





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