Over 2,400 babies to be born on New Year’s Day in Ghana, says UNICEF

UNICEF challenges nations around the world to make sure more newborns survive their first days of life

02 January 2018
One week-old baby boy, Arthur Maabena, during a post-natal check-up at the Elmina Urban Health Centre in the Central Region of Ghana
UNICEF/QUARMYNE/2012
One week-old baby boy, Arthur Maabena, during a post-natal check-up at the Elmina Urban Health Centre in the Central Region of Ghana

Accra, 1 January 2018 -  Approximately 2,400 babies will be born in Ghana on New Year’s Day, UNICEF said today. Ghanaian babies will account for 0.6 per cent of the estimated 385,793 babies to be born globally on New Year’s Day.  

Due to the time zones, Kiribati’s Christmas Island, a small island in the Pacific, is likely to be the first place to welcome 2018’s first baby, while the United States is the last. 

Globally, over half of these births are estimated to take place in nine countries: 

•    India — 69,070
•    China — 44,760
•    Nigeria — 20,210
•    Pakistan — 14,910
•    Indonesia — 13,370
•    The United States of America — 11,280
•    The Democratic Republic of Congo — 9,400
•    Ethiopia — 9,020
•    Bangladesh — 8,370


While many babies will survive, some will not make it past their first day. In 2016, worldwide an estimated 2,600 children died within the first 24 hours every day of the year. For almost two million newborns globally, 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 resolution is to help give every child more than an hour, more than a day, more than a month - more than survival,” said UNICEF Ghana Representative a.i. Rushnan Murtaza.

“It is our collective responsibility to join the fight to save millions of children’s lives 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. Globally, 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 the child. 

“We are now entering the era when all the world’s newborns should have the opportunity to see the 22nd Century,” added Ms Murtaza. “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 Ghana would be unlikely to live beyond 2081.”

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