New Year’s Babies: Over 3,227 children will be born in Afghanistan on New Year’s Day - UNICEF

As the calendar turns to 2019, UNICEF calls on nations to meet every newborn’s right to health and survival

31 December 2018
Newborn baby
UNICEF Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan, 1 January 2019   An estimated 3,227 babies will be born in Afghanistan on New Year’s Day, UNICEF said today. Afghan babies will be part the estimated 395,072 babies to be born on New Year’s Day.

In cities around the world, revelers will welcome not only the New Year with great festivities but also their newest and tiniest residents. As the clock strikes midnight, Sydney will greet an estimated 168 babies, followed by 310 in Tokyo, 605 in Beijing, 166 in Madrid and finally, 317 in New York.

Fiji in the Pacific will most likely deliver 2019’s first baby; the United States, its last. A total of 99,183 babies will be born in South Asia alone, representing one quarter of all babies born.  

  1. India — 69,944
  2. Pakistan — 15,112
  3. Bangladesh — 8,428
  4. Afghanistan – 3,227
  5. Nepal – 1,591
  6. Sri Lanka – 822
  7. Bhutan – 40
  8. Maldives - 19

Around the world on January 1, families will welcome countless Alexanders and Ayeshas, Mohammads and Zainabs. But in several countries, many babies will not even be named as they won’t make it past their first day.

In 2017, about 1 million babies died the day they were born, and 2.5 million in just their first month of life. Among those children, most died from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia, a violation of their basic right to survival.

“This New Year Day, let’s all make a resolution to fulfill every right of every child, starting with the right to survive,” says Stefano Savi, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Afghanistan. “We can save millions of babies if we invest in training and equipping local health workers so that every newborn is born into a safe pair of hands.”

2019 also marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which UNICEF will be commemorating with worldwide events throughout the year. Under the convention, governments committed to, among other things, taking measures to save every child by providing good quality health care. 

Over the past three decades, the world has seen remarkable progress in child survival, cutting the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday by more than half. But there has been slower progress for newborns. Babies dying in the first month account for 47 per cent of all deaths among children under five.

UNICEF’s Every Child Alive campaign calls for immediate investment to 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, ample supplies and medicines to prevent and treat complications during pregnancy, delivery and birth, and empowered adolescent girls and women who can demand better quality of health services.

Thirty years after world leaders committed to preserving children’s rights, we’re still losing newborns because of who they are or where they are from,” says Savi. “This year, we should renew our efforts to give every baby in Afghanistan a chance to survive, to be free of polio, to laugh, to cry, to play, to grow – to have a name and to have a life.”

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 Notes to Editors

For complete un-rounded estimates on births and life expectancy for 190 countries, click here. For top ten baby names across 20 countries and number of births across 26 cities, click here. For the data, UNICEF worked with the World Data Lab.

The estimates for the number of babies born draw on the period indicators and the life tables of the UN’s World Population Prospects (2017). Building on these datasets, World Data Lab’s (WDL) algorithm projects the number of births for each day by country and their corresponding life expectancy. Similar methods were applied to compute the number of babies born in specific US and international cities as well as the regional estimates. Other data sources include UN Data, different US governmental services, and national statistics across several countries.

To download photos to accompany this story, visit here.

Media Contacts

Monica Awad

Communication Specialist

UNICEF Afghanistan

Tel: +93 (0) 730 72 71 11

Feridoon Aryan

Communication Officer

UNICEF Afghanistan

Tel: +93 (0) 730 72 71 15

Ahmad Jan Nawzadi

Communication Officer

UNICEF Afghanistan

Tel: +93 (0) 730 71 71 12

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Afghanistan, visit www.unicef.org/afghanistan.

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