The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed that no fewer than 26,039 babies will be born in Nigeria today being New Year’s Day.
Babies born Nigeria today will account for almost seven per cent of the estimated 392,078 babies to be born on New Year’s Day globally, the third-highest in the world, after India and China.
UNICEF revealed that India will have the highest number of newborns as 67,385 babies would be born in that country followed by China with 46,299, while 16,787 babies would be born in Pakistan, 13,020 in Indonesia, 10,452 in the United States of America, 10,247 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 8,494 in Ethiopia.
However, Fiji in the Pacific will most likely deliver 2020’s first baby, the United States, it’s last and globally, over half of the births are estimated to take place in eight countries.
Nigeria Representative of UNICEF, Peter Hawkins, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday lamented that for millions of newborns in Nigeria and around the world, the day of their birth is far less auspicious and often their last.
He lamented that in 2018, 2.5 million newborn babies died in their first month globally and about a third on their first day, adding that Nigeria recorded, 318,522 deaths of newborn babies.
Hawkins observed that most of the children died from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis, adding that over 2.5 million babies were born dead each year, while over 400,000 stillbirths occur in Nigeria yearly.
Hawkins said in the last three decades, Nigeria and the world have experienced remarkable progress in child survival, reducing the number of children who die globally before their fifth birthday by more than half.
“In Nigeria, this number reduced by about 500,000 between 1990 and 2018, but there has been slower progress for newborns. Babies dying in their first month accounted for 47 per cent of all deaths among five-year-old children in 2018, up from 40 per cent in 1990.
“The figures are 29 per cent, up from 21 per cent in 1990. UNICEF’s Every Child Alive campaign calls for immediate investment in health workers with the right training, who are equipped with the right medicines to ensure every mother and newborn is cared for by safe hands to prevent and treat complications during pregnancy, delivery, and birth,” he said.