New Year’s Babies: Over 97,000 children will be born in South Asia on New Year’s Day - UNICEF

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

01 January 2020
Newborn baby girl
UNICEF/UN0269343/Mukherjee AFP-Services

KATHMANDU, 1 January 2020 An estimated 97,355 babies will be born in South Asia on New Year’s Day, UNICEF said today. Babies born in South Asia will account for 25 per cent of the estimated 392,078 babies to be born worldwide on New Year’s Day.

“The beginning of a new year and a new decade is an opportunity to reflect on our hopes and aspirations not only for our future, but the future of those who will come after us,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “As the calendar flips each January, we are reminded of all the possibility and potential of each child embarking on her or his life’s journey—if they are just given that chance.”

Within the region, India will have the highest number of new babies born on New Year’s Day – estimated at 67,385 followed by Pakistan – 16,787; Bangladesh – 8,093; Afghanistan – 3,387; Nepal – 1,567; Sri Lanka – 882; Bhutan – 36; and Maldives – 18.

Each January, UNICEF celebrates babies born on New Year’s Day, an auspicious day for child birth around the world. However, for many newborns in South Asia, the day of their birth is far less auspicious. Almost 1 million babies die every year before reaching the end of their first month of life in the eight countries of South Asia. It is a shocking number, and most die from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections.

Over the years, governments in South Asia have been supportive of efforts to tackle the issue of newborn mortality and stillbirths in the region. Countries in the region have committed to improve the availability and quality of newborn care. However, more needs to be done to encourage community level demand and utilization of the services provided to reduce the number of children who die before their fifth birthday.

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.

“Saving newborns is possible, but it requires the availability of skilled birth attendants and quality delivery care. The quality factor is crucial. The sad reality is that giving birth in a health facility in South Asia does not always mean a safe birth,” said Jean Gough, Regional Director UNICEF South Asia.

 

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Notes to Editors

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

For the data, UNICEF worked 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, visit here.

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