Reports on Child Mortality and Stillbirths - The Hindu - 12/01/23

Recently, two global reports on child mortality (Levels and Trends in Child Mortality) and stillbirths (Never Forgotten) were released by United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME).
-->Findings of the Report:
1. Levels and Trends in Child Mortality:
-Data Related to Mortality: Globally, 5 million children died before their fifth birthday (under-five mortality) in 2021.
-Decline in Mortality Rate: The global under-5 mortality rate fell by 50% since the start of the century, while mortality rates in older children and youth dropped by 36%, and the stillbirth rate decreased by 35%.
-Region Wise Analysis: Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia continue to have the highest rates of child mortality, with children born in sub-Saharan Africa having the lowest chances of surviving.
-Access to Quality Health: Access to and availability of quality health care continues to be a matter of life or death for children globally.
-Rising Infectious Disease: For children that survive past their first 28 days, infectious diseases like pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria pose the biggest threat, the global health agency found.

2. Report on Stillbirth:
Globally, an estimated 1.9 million stillbirths happened in 2021. In 2021, the absolute estimated number of stillbirths in India (2,86,482) was greater than the death amongst children in 1-59 months of age (2,67,565).

->Root of Many Child Deaths:
a. Preterm Births (Children born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed): This is a challenge because these ‘preterm babies’ are two to four times at higher risk of death after birth in comparison to those born after 37 weeks of gestation.
b. Stillbirths: The rates and number of both preterm births and stillbirths are unacceptably high and drive the neonatal, infant and child mortalities upwards in India. Thus, they demand urgent interventions.

->Prevent Stillbirths and Preterm Births:
-Scaling up Known and Proven Interventions
-Effective Implementation of Guidelines
-Allocate more Funding

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