Kenya had the second highest newborn mortality rates in East Africa in 2016, according to a new report by Unicef.
According to the report titled; Every Child Alive, for every 1,000 babies born in Kenya, 22 died.
South Sudan recorded the highest newborn deaths with 38 deaths out of every 1,000 babies. Rwanda had the lowest newborn mortality rates with a record 16 deaths per 1,000 births in 2016.
Uganda and Tanzania also recorded low newborn deaths at 21 and 21.7 deaths respectively.
According to Unicef, Every year, 2.6 million babies die before turning one month old; one million of them take their first and last breaths on the day they are born.
The report observes that almost half of all under-five children who died in 2016 were newborns. Sadly, Unicef reveals that 80 per cent of the newborns who died , died of preventable and treatable causes.
“Millions of these young lives could be saved every year if every mother and every baby had access to affordable, quality health care, good nutrition and clean water,” the report says.
“We are failing the world’s youngest citizens. Although the world has made dramatic progress in reducing global rates of under-five child mortality, newborn deaths have declined at a slower pace,”
To curb the alarming newborn mortality rates across the globe, Unicef is calling for quality health care for every mother and baby, starting with the most vulnerable since the Every Child Alive report reveals that
Children from the poorest households are nearly twice as likely to die before the age of five than children from the richest.
UNICEF is calling for universal health coverage, starting with four main pillars:
- Functional health facilities, with electricity and clean water
- Midwives and other health workers equipped with training and tools
- Life-saving drugs and equipment
- Adolescent girls, women and families empowered to demand and receive quality care