India 12th worst nation for newborns: UNICEF Report

According to a UNICEF report that released on February 20, 2018, Pakistan is the riskiest nation to be born in, as it has the highest newborn mortality rates in the world.

The report mainly examined the death rates of newborn babies during the first 28 days of life.

Key Highlights

• Nations such as Japan, Iceland and Singapore were found to have the lowest newborn mortality rates thus, offering the best chance at survival for babies.

• Japan was found to be the safest nation for birth on the list, as there less than one in 1,000 babies dies in the first month.

• Nations such as Pakistan, Afghanistan or the ones in the Central African Republic were found to be worst for newborns.

• Pakistan topped the list with 45.6 newborn babies dying out of every 1,000 births in 2016.

• Japan's figure is more than 50 times lower than neonatal mortality rates in Pakistan, reflecting the widening disparity in life expectancy around the world.

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India’s position in the list

• India's neonatal mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) was found to be 25.4, making it the 12th worst among 52 ‘lower-middle-income countries’ that pose risk for newborns.

• India is also the only major country in the world to have a higher mortality for girls than boys.

• The country reflects wide disparity within itself as well as far as neonatal mortality rates in the states are concerned.

• While Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan account for 46% of all births and 57% of India’s neonatal deaths, Kerala and Goa have neonatal mortality rates of ten per 1,000 live births.

• India has set a Sustainable Development Goal target for neonatal mortality of 12 by 2030.

• To achieve this goal, the country will have to reduce its neonatal deaths by half in the next 12 years.

• India has managed a 66% reduction in under-five deaths between 1990 to 2015 as against the world average of 55%.

What is neonatal mortality rate?

It is the number of deaths during the first 28 days of life per 1000 live births.


Each year, some 2.6 million babies do not survive through their first month.

More than 80 percent of newborn deaths are due to delivery complications or infectious diseases such as pneumonia, which could have been prevented with basic solutions such as affordable healthcare and well-trained medical staff.

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