More than 18 newborns die every day in Gujarat: Major causes of neonatal deaths identified

Out of the total 1,06,017 newborn babies admitted in the Sick Newborn Care Units in government hospitals across Gujarat in the past two years, 13,496 died within hours of their birth, the Vijay Rupani-led government informed the state assembly on Wednesday. This meant that on an average more than 18 newborns died everyday within hours of their birth in the state. Sadly, this is happening in a state which has one of the best healthcare facilities and infrastructure. Also Read – Pregnancy: Metal exposure may lead to preterm births and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel who also holds the health portfolio, disclosed this disturbing figure while answering a series of written questions put up by Congress legislators, IANS reported. Out of the total newborns admitted in the Sick Newborn Care units, 69,314 were transferred from government hospitals, while 38,561 (36.37 per cent) from private hospitals. The maximum number of deaths of newborns (around 18 per cent) occurred in Rajkot, the native place of the Gujarat Chief Minister Rupani. Also Read – World Prematurity Day: What parents need to know when the baby arrives too soon

India recorded highest number of newborn deaths in 2019

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there has been a substantial decline in the global number of newborn deaths in the past two decades. The figure went down from 5 million in 1990 to 2.4 million in 2019, it said in its website. However, the decline in neonatal mortality has been slower than that of post-neonatal under-5 mortality, it added. Also Read – Preterm birth may up premature death risk in mothers: Here’s what you can do to prevent early delivery

Newborn deaths are highest in their first 28 days. As per WHO data, approximately 7000 newborn deaths occurred every day in 2019, which accounted for 47 per cent of all child deaths under the age of 5-years that year. The highest neonatal mortality rate was recorded in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2019 at 27 deaths per 1,000 live births. Central and Southern Asia followed with 24 deaths per 1,000 live births. “A child born in sub-Saharan Africa or in Southern Asia is 10 times more likely to die in the first month than a child born in a high-income country,” WHO stated.

Majority of newborn deaths take place in low and middle-income countries. India topped the list of 10 countries with the highest number of newborn deaths in 2019. Check out the other countries in the list here-

Causes of newborn deaths

About 75 per cent of all neonatal deaths occurs during the first week of life, and about 1 million newborns die within the first 24 hours – WHO said.

Most neonatal deaths result from preterm birth, intrapartum-related complications (birth asphyxia or lack of breathing at birth), infections (which includes sepsis/pneumonia, tetanus and diarrhoea), and birth defects. “Children who die within the first 28 days of birth suffer from conditions and diseases associated with lack of quality care at birth or skilled care and treatment immediately after birth and in the first days of life,” the organisation noted.

Prevention of newborn deaths

The survival and health of newborns can be improved and stillbirths can be prevented with quality antenatal care, skilled care at birth, postnatal care for mother and baby, and care of small and sick newborns – the Who said.

The organisation recommends governments to ensure that all babies receive early and exclusive breastfeeding, assessment for signs of serious health problems, additional care ( for those who are low-birth-weight, sick or have an HIV-infected mother) and preventive treatment (BCG and Hepatitis B immunization, vitamin K and ocular prophylaxis, etc.)

It advises parents to seek prompt medical care if they notice danger signs in their newborns such as feeding problems, difficulty breathing, a fever, fits or convulsions, or cold. Parents should bring the baby for timely vaccination according to national schedules, WHO added.


Published : March 24, 2021 7:43 pm | Updated:March 24, 2021 7:53 pm

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