For the first time a report on stillbirths titled “A Neglected Tragedy: The Global Burden of Stillbirths” has been released by UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN-IGME) which was co-created by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank and the United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division.
- In accordance with the report a stillborn baby is delivered every 16 seconds which means nearly two million infants in a year never take their first breath.
- 84% of these occurrences happened in low and lower-middle-income countries.
Key factors behind stillbirth: Poor quality of pregnancy and delivery care, a lack of antenatal and intrapartum services and weak nursing and midwifery workforces.
Key Points from the Report:
-Globally, the stillbirth rate declined by 35% since 2000, but, despite advances in health services from 2000 to 2019, the annual stillbirth reduction rate was just 2.3%, compared with a 2.9% reduction in neonatal mortality, and 4.3% in mortality among children aged one to 59 months.
-Stillbirths are also a challenge for high-income countries due insufficient knowledge of mother and lack of access to sufficient quality health care for ethnic minorities.
-Notably, there is 50% reduction in healthcare services amid COVID-19 pandemic which could cause nearly 200,000 additional stillbirths in the upcoming year in 117 low-and middle-income countries.
-There are no targets specific to stillbirths in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Points to be noted:
-Half of the stillbirths and 44% of the global live births occurs in 6 countries viz. (highest to lowest) – India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, China, and Ethiopia.
–India, Pakistan and Nigeria alone accounted for a third of the total burden of stillbirths and 27% of live births.
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About United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):
Executive Director– Henrietta Fore
Headquarter– New York, United States of America (USA)
About World Health Organization (WHO):
Director General– Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarter– Geneva, Switzerland