Pajhwok Services

Photo Service

SMS News Service

Pajhwok combines its expertise and experience in news reporting with a telecom firm and thus reach a wider audience in an 
effective way.

To subscribe: 
English News Update : Send 83 to 824
Dari News Update : Send 84 to 824
Pashto News Update : Send 85 to 824

Election Coverage

Special Mining Page

Media Release Service

Addvertise With Pajhwok

Pajhwok Mobile App

Daily Newsletter

Sending Time (GMT / Kabul time)

Suggest a Story

Pajhwok is interested in your story suggestions. Please tell us your thoughts by clicking here.

Afghanistan among worst countries for babies

Afghanistan among worst countries for babies

Feb 20, 2018 - 13:42

KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan is among the top three countries in the world where newborn babies face the worst odds, a UN agency said on Tuesday.

Afghanistan, where one in 25 newborn babies dies, is third behind Pakistan and the Central African Republic, in terms of mortality, according to a UNICEF report.

Deaths of newborn babies remain alarmingly high, particularly among the world’s poorest countries. Babies born in Japan, Iceland and Singapore have the best chance at survival.

On the contrary, newborns in Pakistan, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan faced the worst odds, the report added.

“We have not made progress in ending deaths among children less than one month old,” acknowledged Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF’s executive director.

“Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly, we are failing the world’s poorest babies.”

Globally, the report says, the average newborn mortality rate is 27 deaths per 1,000 births in low-income countries. In high-income countries, that rate is 3 deaths per 1,000. 

Eight of the 10 most dangerous places to be born are in sub-Saharan Africa, where pregnant women are much less likely to receive assistance during delivery due to poverty, conflict and weak institutions.

If every country brought its newborn mortality rate down to the high-income average by 2030, 16 million lives could be saved.

Unequal shots at life[1]

Highest newborn mortality rates

Lowest newborn mortality rates

1. Pakistan: 1 in 22

1. Japan: 1 in 1,111

2. Central African Republic: 1 in 24

2. Iceland: 1 in 1,000

3. Afghanistan: 1 in 25

3. Singapore: 1 in 909

4. Somalia: 1 in 26

4. Finland: 1 in 833

5. Lesotho: 1 in 26

5. Estonia: 1 in 769

6. Guinea-Bissau: 1 in 26

5. Slovenia: 1 in 769

7. South Sudan: 1 in 26

7. Cyprus: 1 in 714

8. Côte d'Ivoire: 1 in 27

8. Belarus: 1 in 667

9. Mali: 1 in 28

8. Luxembourg: 1 in 667

10. Chad: 1 in 28

8. Norway: 1 in 667


8. Republic of Korea: 1 in 667


More than 80 per cent of newborn deaths are due to prematurity, complications during birth or infections such as pneumonia and sepsis, the report says.

These deaths can be prevented with access to well-trained midwives, along with proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact and good nutrition.

However, a shortage of trained health workers and midwives means thousands do not receive the life-saving support they need to survive.

This month, UNICEF is launching Every Child ALIVE, a global campaign to demand and deliver solutions on behalf of the world’s newborns.

Through the campaign, UNICEF is issuing an urgent appeal to governments, health care providers, donors, the private sector, families and businesses to keep every child alive by:

  • Recruiting, training, retaining and managing sufficient numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives with expertise in maternal and newborn care;
  • Guaranteeing clean, functional health facilities equipped with water, soap and electricity, within the reach of every mother and baby;
  • Making it a priority to provide every mother and baby with the life-saving drugs and equipment needed for a healthy start in life; and
  • Empowering adolescent girls, mothers and families to demand and receive quality care.

“Every year, 2.6 million newborns around the world do not survive their first month of life. One million of them die the day they are born," said Fore.

She added: "We know we can save the vast majority of these babies with affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and every newborn. Just a few small steps from all of us can help ensure the first small steps of each of these young lives.”