Even though the world has made progress in reducing the fatality rate of children under five, newborn deaths have declined at a slower place. According to a disturbing new report from Unicef, 7,000 newborn babies are dying every day with 80 percent of them losing their lives to three preventable and treatable conditions: complications due to prematurity or during delivery, and infections such as sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia.
There is a massive gap in newborn mortality around the world, as the following infographic illustrates. According to Unicef, births in Pakistan carry the greatest risk and the country has the highest mortality rate worldwide with 45.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. The Central African Republic comes second with 42.3 while Afghanistan is third with 40.0. The lack of skilled professionals certainly contributes to these grim figures. Take Chad as an example. In 2013, it had 4 health professionals per 10,000 of its population.
Japan is at the opposite end of the spectrum with a newborn mortality rate of 0.9 per 1,000 live births. It also had 131 skilled health professionals per 10,000 of its inhabitants in 2012. Iceland has the second lowest newborn mortality rate with 1.0 deaths per 1,000 births while Singapore rounds off the top-three.