The newborn mortality rate in Sri Lanka which is 5.3 is almost same as that in Kuwait and the US, which is 4, a latest report released by the UNICEF said on Tuesday.
The report titled ‘Every child alive: The urgent need to end newborn deaths’ said “In Kuwait and the US, both high-income countries, the newborn mortality rate is 4. This is only slightly better than lower-middle-income countries such as Sri Lanka and Ukraine, where the newborn mortality rate is 5.”
However, Sri Lanka’s rate is the most improved rate in the category of lower middle income countries. India’s newborn mortality rate is 25.4, Bangladesh’s 20.1 and in Bhutan it is 18.1.
“Children born in Pakistan face the worst odds as 46 out of every 1,000 babies born, die before the end of their first month. Babies born in Japan stand the best chance of surviving, with just 1 in 1,000 dying during the first 28 days,” the report said.
Explaining about the differences and similarities of mortality rates among countries, the report said a country’s income level was not an indicator of the rate.
It said 2.6 million babies die before turning one month every year and another 2.6 million are stillborn.
“Each of these deaths is a tragedy, especially because the vast majority are preventable. More than 80 per cent of newborn deaths are the result of premature birth, complications during labour, delivery and infections such as sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia. Similar causes, particularly complications during labour, account for a large share of stillbirths,” it said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)