In the mountainous central Asian country Kyrgyzstan, simple solutions are saving newborn lives. From 1990 to 2016, the number of deaths of children 5 and under was reduced by two thirds, while the neonatal mortality rate was cut in half from 24 to 12 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Much of this work was done through simple solutions – better training and equipment for midwives and health workers as well as upgrades to clinics and hospitals.
A new report by UNICEF and global health partners released today shows a staggering 2.6 million newborns die every year – that’s approximately 7,000 newborn lives lost each day. The majority of these deaths are easily preventable.
The United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) report also shows the number of deaths among children under 5 is dropping, but the rate of decline for newborns is dragging behind. Newborn deaths now account for a larger share of the total number of deaths among children under-five – 46 per cent – compared to 41 per cent in 2000.
Many regions of the world have yet to significantly reduce the number of newborns dying – but in Kyrgyzstan simple, affordable solutions are reaching the mothers and babies who need them most.
In the tiny mountain village of Daroot Korgon one obstetrician serves Chon Alai district’s entire population of 25,000 people, and has witnessed and been part of the remote Central Asian country’s child survival revolution.