“Let us keep every child alive” says UNICEF as Malawi is set to welcome over 2000 New Years’ Day babies

As 2019 clocks in, UNICEF calls on Malawi to meet every new-born’s right to health and survival

01 January 2019
A doctor with a mother and her newborn baby at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe
UNICEF Malawi/2017/Thoko Chikondi
A doctor with a mother and her newborn baby at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe.

Lilongwe, 31st December 2018 – An estimated 2,121 babies will be born in Malawi on New Year’s Day, according to District Health Information System II data (DHISII).
While a lot of families will be naming their babies, many will not even be named as they will not make it past their first day. Some will die 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’s Day, let us all make a resolution to fulfill every right of every child, starting with the right to survive,” said Roisin De Burca, UNICEF Malawi Acting Representative. “We can save hundreds of babies if we invest in training and equipping nurses, midwives, clinicians and hospitals so that every newborn is born into a safe, well-equipped environment”, added Ms De Burca.

Over the past three decades, the world including Malawi, has seen remarkable progress in child survival, cutting the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday by more than half.

Under five mortality rates in Malawi have dropped from 235 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 55 per 1,000 live births in 2017 (UN 2018 Report ‘Levels & Trends in Child Mortality’). But there has been slower progress for new-borns. New-born babies dying in the first month account for 43 per cent of all deaths among children under five.

“We wish every baby born in this country this year a life full of potential, laughter and good health,” said Ms De Burca."But in this moment of celebration and joy, our thoughts also go out to all the babies who won’t survive their first day. We can and must do more to give every baby a chance to live beyond their first day and month of life."

“We can do this by ensuring that there is a steady supply of clean water and electricity in health facilities, the presence of a skilled health attendants during birth, ample supplies and medicines to prevent and treat complications during pregnancy, delivery and at birth, and empower adolescent girls and women to demand better quality of health services” added Ms De Burca.

Media Contacts

Rebecca Phwitiko
Communications Officer
Tel: 0999282723


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, visit www.unicef.org.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook