An estimated 26,039 babies, representing seven percent of global new babies, will be born in Nigeria on January 1st, 2020, the New Year Day, the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has predicted.
Globally, UNICEF predicted that an estimated 392,078 babies would be born on New Year Day, with India on top of the table with estimated 67,385 babies, and followed by China with 46,299 new babies.
Nigeria came third with 26,039 new babies, Pakistan 16,787, Indonesia 13,020, The United States of America 10,452, Democratic Republic of Congo 10,247 and Ethiopia 8,493 new babies.
UNICEF predicted that Fiji in the Pacific will most likely deliver 2020’s first baby while the last baby will be delivered in the United States of America.
Its Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, in a statement released in Abuja, on Tuesday, reminded the government of the potential of each and every Nigerian child embarking on her or his life’s journey if only they are given the chance to survive and thrive.
He disclosed that, in 2018, 2.5 million newborns died in their first month of life around the world. He disclosed that in Nigeria, it was 318,522 deaths, and most of the children died of preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis.
In addition to that, more than 2.5 million babies were born dead across the world, with more than 400,000 stillborn deaths recorded in Nigeria annually.
The UN children agency also agreed that over the past three decades, the world, including Nigeria, has seen remarkable progress in child survival, thus cutting the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday by more than half.
In Nigeria, it said the number was cut by about 500,000 between 1990 and 2018, with slower but impressive progress for newborns. It said that babies dying in their first month of life, globally, accounted for 47 percent of deaths among children under five in 2018, up from 40 percent in 1990. In Nigeria, these figures are 29 percent, up from 21 percent in 1990.
Mr. Hawkins said that UNICEF’s Every Child Alive campaign has consistently amplified calls for increased investment in health workers, providing the right training and also equipped the facilities with right medicines to ensure every mother and newborn is cared for by safe pair of hands as against otherwise, to prevent and treat complications during pregnancy, delivery and birth.
“We must ensure that millions of babies survive their first day and live into this decade and beyond if every mother has good pregnancy care and every baby is born into safe pair of hands. That means having well-equipped facilities with well-trained staff who can be there to welcome every Nigerian child into this world safely and healthily.
“It’s the beginning of a new year and a new decade. It’s a chance for us to reflect on our hopes and dreams for the future of our children who stand to inherit this country,” he said.