The Country Director of Save the Children Liberia, Mr. Ranjan Poudyal, has said that government and its partners have made remarkable progress in reducing child mortality and are closer to achieving one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs4).
This progress, according to Mr. Poudyal, could stall if more action was not taken to tackle newborn deaths. Newborn death accounts for nearly half of all under five deaths in Liberia.
Launching the newest Save the Children global report on newborn death on Tuesday, February 26, in Monrovia, Mr. Poudyal said the remarkable progress, thus far, has been possible due to political action on immunization, treatment of pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria; and family planning and nutrition. He urged government to continue its trend of involvement.
The new report is titled: “Ending Newborn Death, ensuring every baby survives.” It indicates that one million babies die globally on the first day of their life, making the first 24 hours of a child’s life the most dangerous.
The report also shows that one half of the first day deaths around the world could be prevented if the mother and baby had access to free quality health care and a skilled birthing attendant.
It reveals that these deaths happen because of premature birth and other complications such as prolonged labor, pre-eclampsia and infection. These situations could be treated or avoided if quality health workers are present.
In regards to Liberia, Mr. Poudyal revealed that 3,300 babies died during labor or on their first day in 2012. This includes 1,400 newborns and 1,900 intrapartum stillbirths.
In a bid to save millions of newborn lives, Save the Children called on stakeholders in the health sector to commit this year to a blueprint for change known as “The Five Point Newborn Promise,’ which focuses on training and equipping enough skilled health workers to make sure no baby is born without the aid of a trained medical practitioner, and removing fees for all pregnancies and birth services.
“The first day of a child’s life is the most dangerous and many mothers still give birth at home without any help. We hear horrible stories of mothers walking for hours during labor to find trained help, all too often ending in tragedy.”