U.S. Newborn Mortality Rate Higher Than in 40 Countries…

The rate of deaths for newborns in the United States is higher than 40 other countries including Malaysia, Cuba and Poland, according to a new study. The study, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, examines data from 190 countries. According to that data, newborn deaths have declined over the past 20 years from 4.6 million in 1999 to 3.3 million in 2009. Infant mortality though, has dropped slower than other age groups, making up 41 percent of child deaths worldwide.

While the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is high compared with other wealthy countries, 99 percent of infant deaths take place in low-income countries. India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and the Democratic Republic of Congo account for more than half of the 3.3 million annual newborn deaths. India alone has more than 900,000 a year.

One author of the study, Joy Lawn, believes this is because there is no strong leadership to make newborn health and survival a priority. “We haven’t had the right people shouting for it,” Lawn told ABC News. Unlike the HIV movement, newborn mortality has garnered very little attention, despite the staggering numbers.

According to Lawn, the great tragedy is that at least a third of these deaths could be prevented with extremely cheap and simple solutions- breastfeeding, for instance, making sure that women don’t give birth on a dirty surface, keeping babies warm after birth. But these interventions are not high on the global health agenda. “Most of the big organizations that fund global health initiatives still barely mention newborn deaths,” Lawn told ABC News.

In northern India, a recent study found that simply making sure mom and baby were in a clean environment and that the baby was kept warm after birth reduced newborn mortality by more than 50 percent. “You can get rapid change, you can change things within two years,” said Lawn. “You just need the will.”

We have the world’s best and most expensive healthcare system, is forty first the best we can do?


1 Comment

  1. Children dying

    In Sept 21, 2011 issue, DNA presents following depressing facts :

     55 % of Indian children [ under 2 years ], do not receive basic comprehensive immunization

     2.7 million children [ under 5 years ], receive no treatment for diarrhoea

     900,000 new-born die in India annually [ 102 every hour ! ]

     2.6 million is the number of health-workers India needs to meet WHO standards

     1.04 % of GDP is what India spends on health

    How many millions of lives can we save , if all the black money stashed abroad [ and within the country ], including monies pocketed by the “ Corrupt “, thru 2G scam / Air India scam / NRHM scam / PSU scam / illegal mining scam etc. were available and spent on health-care of the poor ?

    And do not single out West Bengal. Situation is the same everywhere !

    With regards

    hemen parekh


    Jobs for All = Peace on Earth

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