World losing war on preventing child, maternal deaths: report

World losing war on preventing child, maternal deaths: report

The global campaign to reduce child and maternal deaths has suffered a setback over the past eight years due to a myriad of factors, a UNICEF report has revealed.

The report, “titled Improving Maternal and Newborn Health and Survival and Reducing Stillbirth,” stated that “4.5 million women and babies die every year during pregnancy, translating into one death happening every 7 seconds, mostly from preventable or treatable causes if proper care was available.”

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has also been blamed for pronouncing the problem and fueling the setbacks after it roiled the gains made in the campaigns.

“Pregnant women and newborns continue to die at unacceptably high rates worldwide, and the COVID-19 pandemic has created further setbacks to providing them with the healthcare they need,” said Dr. Anshu Banerjee, Director of Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health and Ageing at the World Health Organisation (WHO).

 “If we wish to see different results, we must do things differently. More and smarter investments in primary healthcare are needed now so that every woman and baby, no matter where they live, has the best chance of health and survival,” as quoted in a press release by UNICEF.

According to UNICEF, the report “shows that progress in improving survival has stagnated since 2015, with around 290,000 maternal deaths each year, 1.9 million stillbirths.”

It adds that there are “babies who die after 28 weeks of pregnancy” and a staggering 2.3 million newborn deaths, which are deaths in the first month of life.”

For Sub-Saharan Africa, UNICEF states that since 2018, the conflict has frequented the region, leading to serious humanitarian crises and poverty, which were rather worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The results have been negative on the progress made to prevent the deaths.

 “Since the COVID-19 pandemic, babies, children, and women who were already exposed to threats to their well-being, especially those living in fragile countries and emergencies, are facing the heaviest consequences of decreased spending and efforts on providing quality and accessible healthcare,” states Banerjee.