New Year’s Babies: News of hope to welcome the new decade in Samoa

In 2020, UNICEF is calling for world leaders and nations to invest in health workers with the know-how and equipment to save every newborn

02 January 2020
Mitieli Digitaki was one of the first babies of 2020. Born to Laisani Raisili in Suva at ten minutes after midnight in Fiji, Mitieli weighed 2.9 kg and is in good health.
UNICEFPacific/2020/Chute
Mitieli Digitaki was one of the first babies of 2020. Born to Laisani Raisili in Suva at ten minutes after midnight in Fiji, Mitieli weighed 2.9 kg and is in good health.

SUVA, Fiji, 2 January 2020 As the incidence of new cases of measles diminishes, there is news of hope to welcome the new decade. On January 1, an estimated 13 babies were born in Samoa on New Year’s Day, UNICEF said.

In the Pacific Islands, it is estimated that 782 babies were born on New Year’s Day, with one of the first babies in the world born at the Nausori Maternity Ward in Fiji at 12:10am to proud mother, Laisani Raisili.

“As we welcome the new year, let’s make a resolution to give every child, the best start in life,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Pacific Representative. “Every mother and newborn must have access to quality health care. Together let’s make those early moments matter, starting with investing in health workers to ensure every mother and newborn is cared for by a safe pair of hands.”

Fiji in the Pacific delivered one of the world’s first babies of 2020. The United States, its last. Globally, over half of these births are estimated to have taken place in eight countries:

1. India -  67,385

2. China — 46,299

3. Nigeria — 26,039

4. Pakistan — 16,787

5. Indonesia — 13,020

6. The United States of America — 10,452

7. The Democratic Republic of Congo — 10,247

8. Ethiopia — 8,483

In the Pacific, estimated births on New Year’s Day include:

1. Fiji - 39

2. Federated States of Micronesia – 7

3. Kiribati - 9

4. Papua New Guinea – 628

5. Samoa – 13

6. Solomon Islands – 57

7. Tonga – 6

8. Vanuatu – 23

Each January, UNICEF celebrates babies born on New Year’s Day, an auspicious day for child birth around the world.

However, for millions of newborns around the world, the day of their birth is far less auspicious.

In 2018, 2.5 million newborns died in just their first month of life; about a third of them on the first day of life. Among those children, most died from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis.

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 accounted for 47 per cent of all deaths among children under five in 2018, up from 40 per cent in 1990.

UNICEF’s Every Child Alive campaign calls for immediate investment in health workers with the right training, who are equipped with the right medicines to ensure every mother and newborn is cared for by a safe pair of hands to prevent and treat complications during pregnancy, delivery and birth.

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Notes to Editors

For complete un-rounded estimates on births for 190 countries, click here

For the data, UNICEF worked with the World Data Lab. The estimates for the number of babies born on 1 January 2020 draw on the latest revision of the UN’s World Population Prospects (2019). Building on these datasets, World Data Lab’s (WDL) algorithm projects estimates of the number of births for each day by country.

To download photos to accompany this story, click here.

Media Contacts

Cate Heinrich
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Pacific
Tel: +679 992 5606

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, visit https://www.unicef.org/pacificislands/

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