With a large birth cohort, India tops the list of 10 countries that collectively account for 60 percent of global maternal, stillbirth and neonatal deaths, and 51 percent of live births globally, according to a United Nations report released on Tuesday.

The latest estimate published in the Tracking Progress Report by WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA at the International Conference on Maternal and Newborn Health (IMNHC 2023) is released here.

It shows that there were 4.5 million deaths combined – maternal deaths (0.29 million), stillbirths (1.9 million) and neonatal deaths (2.3 million) – in 2020-2021.

Sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Southern Asia are the regions with the highest number of deaths, although there is variation across all regions with regard to the pace at which countries are progressing in their efforts to achieve the global 2030 goals.

According to the first Joint Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) and Tracking Progress Report to End Preventable Maternal Deaths (EPMM), global progress in reducing maternal, maternal and child deaths has stalled for eight years because of reduced investments in maternal care. and newborn health.

“Pregnant women and newborn babies continue to die at unacceptably high rates worldwide, and the coronavirus pandemic has caused further setbacks to providing them with the healthcare they need,” said Dr. Anshu Banerjee, director of Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent, and Geriatric Health at World Health Organization (WHO), he said.

“If we want to see different outcomes, we must do things differently. Smarter investments are needed in primary health care so that every woman and child – no matter where they live – has the best chance of health and survival.”

Addressing media at IMNHC, Dr Allysene Moran, WHO’s Maternal Health Officer, said the maternal, neonatal and stillbirth mortality rate had declined since 2000, but since 2015 there had been a significant stabilization in the reduction of maternal deaths and the reduction in stillbirths. .

“We really need to work hard as a society to accelerate this progress so that we can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. To achieve this, we need to implement life-saving interventions for quality prenatal, during and postpartum care for women and their newborns, and to prevent stillbirths,” he said. Moran: “We have coverage targets for antenatal care, skilled assistance, and postpartum care through 2025. We know interventions must be delivered alongside quality, respectful care.”

India experienced 788,000 maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths in 2020, out of a total of 4.5 million deaths globally. The country is also responsible for 17 percent of the world’s live births, which can be a factor for the large number of maternal deaths and stillbirths.

It is followed by Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and China in terms of maternal mortality, stillbirth, and neonatal mortality.

Trend data revealed that global progress in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality and stillbirth has slowed over the past decade. The gains between 2000 and 2010 were faster than in the years since 2010. It is critical to identify the causes of this slow pace, and to take action to address them.

“The global challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, conflicts and other emergencies, as well as the rising cost of living within countries have the potential to further slow progress in this decade, calling for greater urgency and investment towards maternal and newborn health goals,” the report said.

As is often the case, vulnerability, fear and loss are not spread evenly across the world, noted Stephen Le Verrier, UNICEF Director of Health.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, children, children and women, who have already been exposed to threats to their well-being, especially those living in fragile countries and emergencies, are facing the most severe consequences of reduced spending and efforts to provide quality and accessibility,” he said.

The report highlighted that underfunding and underinvestment in primary health care can destroy survival prospects.

In the hardest-hit countries in sub-Saharan Africa and central and southern Asia—areas with the highest burden of neonatal and maternal deaths—less than 60 percent of women receive up to four prenatal examinations out of eight recommended by the World Health Organization. advertiser.

“This is our silent emergency and we need to change the future. This report tells us we need to improve dramatically if we want to avoid maternal and neonatal deaths and stillbirths, and not forget about maternal and neonatal illnesses as well. We need to focus on quality of care and data too.” said Dr. Willibald Zeke, Chief of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights at UNFPA, said, “More data and better data and data from different levels so we can collect more information.”

To increase survival rates, the agencies said, women and children should have access to quality, affordable health care before, during, and after childbirth, as well as access to family planning services. More skilled and motivated health workers, especially midwives, are needed, along with essential medicines and supplies, safe drinking water and reliable electricity.

The report also stressed that interventions must be specifically targeted at the poorest women and those in vulnerable situations who are most likely to miss out on life-saving care, including through important sub-national planning and investments.

She added that improving maternal and newborn health also required addressing harmful norms, biases and gender inequalities.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is republished from a syndicated news agency feed.)


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