India among 10 countries accounting for 60% of global maternal deaths, stillbirths, neonatal deaths: UN study | News from India

CAPE TOWN: India leads a list of 10 countries that together account for 60 percent of the world’s maternal, stillbirth and newborn deaths and 51 percent of live births globally, according to a report released by the United Nations.
The latest estimate published in the progress monitoring report of WHO, UNICEF and the UNFPA was launched at the ongoing ‘International Conference on Maternal Neonatal Health’ on Tuesday (IMHC extension 2023) here. It shows that there were a total of 4.5 million deaths – maternal deaths (0.29 million), stillbirths (1.9 million), and neonatal deaths (2.3 million) – in 2020-2021.
Sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South Asia are the regions recording the highest number of deaths, although, across all regions, there is variation in the pace at which countries are progressing in their efforts to achieve the 2030 global goals.
The four-day conference, hosted by the Government of South Africa and AlignMNH, a global initiative funded by the I count and the Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), began on May 8.
According to the first joint progress monitoring report by Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) and Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM), global progress in reducing deaths of pregnant women, mothers and newborns has stalled for eight years due to declining investment in maternity and newborn health.
“Pregnant women and newborns continue to die at unacceptably high rates around the world, and the coronavirus pandemic has created further setbacks in getting them the health care they need,” said Dr. Anshu BanerjeeDirector of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Aging at the World Health Organization (WHO).
“If we are to see different outcomes, we need to do things differently. Bigger and smarter investments in primary health care are needed so that every woman and child, no matter where they live, has the best chance for health and survival.” Banerjee said. .
Addressing the media at the IMNHC, Dr Allisin MoranMaternal Health Lead at WHO, said maternal and newborn mortality and stillbirths have decreased since 2000, but since 2015 there has been a significant plateau in the reduction in maternal mortality and reduction in stillbirths.
“We really need to work hard as a community to accelerate this progress so we can meet the SDG goals by 2030. To get there, we need to implement lifesaving interventions for quality antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care for women and newborns, and prevent stillbirths .
“We have coverage goals for antenatal, skilled delivery and postnatal care through 2025. We know that interventions must be delivered alongside quality, respectful care,” Moran said.
India recorded 7,88,000 maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths in 2020, out of a total of 4.5 million deaths globally. The country also accounts for 17 percent of global live births, which could be a factor for the large number of maternal deaths, stillbirths, and neonatal deaths.
Followed by Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and China for maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths.
Trend data revealed that global progress in reducing maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths has slowed over the past decade. The gains made between 2000 and 2010 were faster than they have been in the years since 2010.
It is imperative to determine the reasons for this slow pace and take action to address them.
“The global challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, conflict and other emergencies, as well as the rising cost of living within countries, have the potential to further slow progress this decade, justifying greater urgency and investment for maternal and newborn health goals,” the report said.
As is too often the case, vulnerability, fear and loss are not distributed equally across the world, Steven Lawier, noted the UNICEF Director of Health. “After the COVID-19 pandemic, infants, children and women, who were already exposed to threats to their well-being, especially those living in fragile and emergency countries, are facing the heaviest consequences of decreased spending and efforts to provide quality and affordable healthcare services,” he said.
Funding shortfalls and underinvestment in primary health care can devastate prospects for survival, the report points out.
In the hardest-hit countries in sub-Saharan Africa and central and southern Asia – the regions with the highest burden of neonatal and maternal deaths – fewer than 60 per cent of women receive even four, of the WHO-recommended eight, prenatal checks, the reported report.
“This is a silent emergency that we have and we need to change the future. This report tells us that we need to improve enormously if we are to avoid maternal deaths, neonatal deaths and stillbirths, and not forgetting the morbidity in mothers and even newborns. We need to focus on the quality of care and data. More data, better data, and data from different levels so you can gather more information,” said Dr. Willibald Zeckhead of sexual and reproductive health and rights at UNFPA, he said.
To increase survival rates, women and children need affordable, quality health care before, during and after childbirth, the agencies said, as well as access to family planning services. More skilled and motivated health workers, especially midwives, are needed along with essential medicines and supplies, clean water and reliable electricity.
The report also emphasized that interventions should particularly target the poorest women and those in vulnerable situations who are most likely to lose life-saving care, including through critical subnational planning and investment.
Further improving maternal and newborn health requires addressing harmful gender norms, biases and inequalities, she added.


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