A neglected tragedy: The global burden of stillbirths 2020

Estimates developed by the UN Inter-agency group for child mortality estimation

Sovita Devi is 7 months pregnant and is expecting her first baby, Ambadhar village in India.


One stillbirth occurs every 16 seconds, which means that about 2 million babies are stillborn every year. While available data demonstrate that stillbirths are an increasingly critical global health problem, this traumatic loss of life remains a neglected issue in many countries.

This new release of the first-ever joint stillbirth estimates by the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) presents the number of babies that are stillborn every year due to pregnancy and birth-related complications, the absence of health workers and basic services. The report also notes that there is a high risk that the COVID-19 pandemic may reverse decades-long progress on reducing child mortality and affect the number of stillbirths.

The health community recognizes the urgent need to prevent stillbirths. The issue has become an essential part of global child survival initiatives. UNICEF calls on international organizations, governments and partners for increased and strong political will, sound policies and targeted investment along the continuum of care for every mother and child.

Please contact: data@unicef.org

UNICEF, WHO, World Bank Group and United Nations
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