According to a new report released by "Save the Children's State of the World's Mothers", more than 1 million babies die the first day they are born (each year).
A newborn's first day is the most dangerous day of his/her life and a lot of these deaths can be avoided if more health safety measures are implemented, says Save The Children.
The data come from the world's first global analysis of the prevalence of newborns dying the first day they are born.
In addition to these findings the report also includes data about which country is the best place to be a mother. The index ranked the nations according to their education, incomes, and overall female political representation.
Finland ranked as the best country to be a mother with the Republic of the Congo being the worst.
Surprisingly, the U.S. did not rank as high as expected, below nearly all of Western Europe, as the 30th best place to be a mother .
The Mothers' Index rankings are determined by five indicators: education, income, women's political representation in her country and the chances a mother and her baby will survive.
The millennium development goals on child and maternal mortality is only on track for 9 out of 137 developing countries.
Birth Day Risk Index rankingsThe new Birth Day Risk Index is a tool developed to calculate the risk of a baby dying on it's first day of birth. A total of 186 countries were assessed using this novel tool.
The analysis, which was conducted by Save the Children and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, revealed that the United States is riskier than 68 other countries.
In the developed world close to 60 percent of all first-day deaths occur in the United States. In 2011 nearly 11,300 American babies died on their first day.
Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children, said:
"It's hard to imagine the depth of one mother's pain in losing her baby the very day she gives birth, let alone a million times over. Yet, this report is full of hope. It shows there is a growing movement to save newborn lives and growing evidence that we can do it - saving up to 75 percent of them with no intensive care whatsoever."
The global infant mortality rate has dropped drastically over the past two decades, from around 12 million deaths per year to only 7 million.
However, of these deaths, nearly 43 percent account for children during their newborn period - 15 percent of deaths occur on their first day.
Most of the deaths among newborns are due to prematurity or severe infections. The U.S. has a high rate of prematurity compared to other developed nations.
India is the country with most first-day deaths, with more than 300,000 occurring every year. Luxemburg, Singapore, and Sweden have the lowest ( at only 0.5 per 1,000).
Four products could save millions of livesThe report also indicates that there are four underutilized products which would save millions of newborn lives. The products (which are cheap and cost less than $6), include:
- A resuscitation device to help breathing
- Antiseptic chlorhexidine which prevents infection
- Injectable antibiotics
- Antenatal steroid injections to improve lung development among preterm babies
"Today we know that the 1st day of life offers unequaled opportunity to save lives and set the stage for a healthy future. A new analysis shows that wider use of four extremely low-cost products around birth could annually prevent 1 million deaths in the first month of life."
Sadly, despite lengthier active resuscitation of very preterm babies over the past 15 years, their survival rates have not improved, according to a report published in Archives of Disease in Childhood.
Written by Joseph Nordqvist