New Delhi: Out of every 1,000 children born in Pakistan, 46 die at birth, a report released by UNICEF said on Tuesday, singling out Pakistan as the riskiest country for newborns.
“It’s abysmal,” said Dr. Ghazna Khalid, a leading obstetrician in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. “We don’t need front-line medical doctors. We have plenty of them. We need skilled midwives,” the Associated Press (AP) quoted him saying.
The report which is a part of UNICEF's new campaign showed that South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa as the worst places for a child to be born.
The report further said that after Pakistan, the Central African Republic is the next riskiest country for newborns, and Afghanistan is the third.
“Babies born in Japan, Iceland, and Singapore have the best chance at survival, while newborns in Pakistan, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan face the worst odds,” it said, noting that “more than 80 percent of all newborn deaths are caused by three preventable and treatable conditions,” the AP reported.
UNICEF says as many as 3 million children could be saved each year with an investment in quality care at delivery.
In Pakistan, Dr. Khalid said 80 percent of newborn deaths could be prevented with skilled birth attendants.
The UN children's agency also appealed on properly training midwives and allowing better “access to well-trained midwives, along with proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact and good nutrition.”
According to the AP report, Khalid, who has conducted extensive research into mother and child health and has written international papers on the subject, said that lack of funding, corruption, and misplaced government priorities all contribute to insufficient investments in the training of midwives.