This post was originally published at Naija AgroNet and has been republished with permission.

About 20,210 babies were born in Nigeria on the New Year’s Day, so says the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), reports NaijaAgroNet.

Also, UNICEF challenges nations around the world to make sure more newborns survive their first days of life, stressing that Kiribati’s Christmas Island, a small island in the Pacific, will most likely welcome 2018’s first baby; the United States, its last.

Globally, over half of these births are estimated to take place in nine countries including Nigeria -20,210; India – 69,070, China — 44,760, Pakistan — 14,910, Indonesia — 13,370, United States of America — 11,280, Democratic Republic of Congo — 9,400, Ethiopia — 9,020 and Bangladesh — 8,370.

While many babies will survive, some will not make it past their first day. In 2016, an estimated 2,600 children died every day of the year, on the day they were born. For almost 2 million newborns, their first week was also their last. In all, 2.6 million children died before the end of their first month. Among those children, more than 80 per cent of all newborn deaths are due to preventable and treatable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia.

 “This New Year, UNICEF’s global resolution is to help give every child more than an hour, more than a day, more than a month – more than survival,” said Terry Durnnian, Acting Representative of UNICEF Nigeria. “We call on the government and partners to join the fight to save the lives of millions children by providing proven, low-cost solutions.”

Over the past two decades, the world has seen unprecedented progress in child survival, halving the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday to 5.6 million in 2016. But despite these advances, there has been slower progress for newborns. Babies dying in the first month account for 46 per cent of all deaths among children under five.

Next month, UNICEF will launch Every Child Alive, a global campaign to demand and deliver affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and newborn. These include a steady supply of clean water and electricity at health facilities, the presence of a skilled health attendant during birth, disinfecting the umbilical cord, breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, and skin-to-skin contact between the mother and child.

 “We are now entering the era when the entire world’s newborns should have the opportunity to see the 22nd Century. Unfortunately, nearly half of the children born this year likely won’t. A child born in Sweden in January 2018 is most likely to live to 2100, while a child from Nigeria would be unlikely to live beyond year 2072,” Durnnian said.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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