GENEVA, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) Though more women and their children are surviving today than ever before, still a pregnant woman or newborn dies mostly of preventable causes somewhere in the world every 11 seconds, according to a UN report released on Thursday…
Since 2000, child deaths have reduced by nearly half and maternal deaths by over one-third, mostly due to improved access to affordable, quality health services, according to new child and maternal mortality estimates by UN groups led by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
However, some 6.2 million children under 15 years died in 2018, and over 290,000 women died due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth in 2017.
Of the total child deaths, 5.3 million occurred in the first five years, with almost half of these in the first month of life. Women and newborns are most vulnerable during and immediately after childbirth, the report said, estimating that 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns die every year, or one every 11 seconds, mostly of preventable causes.
Women in sub-Saharan Africa face a 1 in 37 lifetime risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth. That’s an unacceptable 145x higher than in some wealthy countries.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) September 20, 2019
Those in sub-Saharan Africa most affected
Among those most impacted were women and children in sub-Saharan Africa, where women have suffered from levels of maternal deaths nearly 50 times higher compared to high-income countries, and their babies were 10 times more likely to die in their first month of life.
Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia account for more than 86% of global maternal and child deaths, while countries in conflict or humanitarian crisis often have weak health systems that prevent women and children from accessing essential lifesaving care, the report warned.
“We must do all it takes to invest in universal health coverage to save these precious lives,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said. The report calls for continued political will in all countries to improve access to quality health care by investing in the health workforce, introducing free care for pregnant women and children, and supporting family planning.
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Author: ANA Newswire