United Nations, Sep 20 : Childbirth survival rates are now a “staggering success” compared with the year 2000, but one pregnant woman - or her child - still dies every 11 seconds from largely preventable causes, UN health experts said.
In a joint appeal for all nations to do more to provide better medical care for all, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday outlined several ways to help protect the 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns who die every year.
Their recommendations tackle immediate and underlying problems, such as ensuring that midwives have water to wash their hands and helping teenage girls to stay in school longer, where there is less chance of them getting pregnant.
In addition, communities should have access to cheap medicines, such as oral rehydration salts used to treat diarrhoea, and “ten cent vaccines” to keep tuberculosis at bay, the UN agencies insisted.
Citing 2018 data showing that newborns – babies in their first month - accounted for around half of the 5.3 million deaths among under-fives, WHO and UNICEF also highlighted the need for other structural changes.
These include ensuring that pregnant mothers eat a sufficiently nutritious diet to stave off illnesses linked to malnutrition. (UNI)