40 MILLION women give birth without trained help each year, and an estimated two million of those give birth entirely alone, according to new research published by Save the Children.
The Report “Ending Newborn Deaths” also found that:
– Of the one million deaths that occur globally on a child’s first day of life, half could be prevented if mother and baby had access to free health care and a skilled midwife
– 1.2 million babies are stillborn each year, their heartbeats stopping during labour because of childbirth complications, maternal infections and hypertension
Paul Ronalds, Save the Children CEO said: “The first day of a child’s life is the most dangerous and too many mothers in the poorest countries give birth alone on the floor of their home or in the bush without any life-saving help.
“We hear horror stories of mothers walking for hours during labour to find trained help, all too often ending in tragedy. Many of these deaths could be averted simply if there was a trained health worker on hand to ensure the birth took place safely and who knew what to do in a crisis.”
The research found that in Papua New Guinea less than half of births have skilled help – this compares with almost 97% of births in Australia taking place in hospitals.
Some of Australia’s other nearest neighbours have made encouraging progress to ensure that women are supported by a trained health worker in child birth and newborn mortality is reduced.
Save the Children found 79.8% of women in Indonesia are attended by a trained health professional during childbirth and in the Solomon Islands it is 70%. Overall, in the Pacific nations, newborn mortality has fallen by 39% since 1990.
To save millions of newborn lives, Save the Children is calling on world leaders to commit in 2014 to a “Five Point Newborn Promise” which focuses on training and equipping young skilled health workers to ensure no baby is born without proper help, and removing fees for all pregnancy and birth services.
Source: Save the Children