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Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that an estimated 25,685 babies will be born in Nigeria on New Year’s Day, with Nigerian babies making up 6.5 percent of the estimated 395,072 babies born on New Year’s Day globally.
According to the International body in a statement made available to The Daily Times, it stated that within Africa, Nigerian babies will account for almost 40 percent of all those born in West and Central Africa, and more than 23 percent of those born in sub-Saharan Africa.
Giving a breakdown, UNICEF Acting Representative to Nigeria, Pernille Ironside, revealed that globally, over half of the world’s births are estimated to take place in just eight countries, including India — 69,944, China — 44,940, Nigeria — 25,685, Pakistan — 15,112, Indonesia — 13,256, The United States — 11086, the Democratic Republic of Congo — 10,053 and Bangladesh — 8,428’’.
While calling for immediate investment to deliver affordable, quality healthcare solutions for every mother and newborn, Ironside described as unfortunate that only one out of every three babies is delivered in a health centre in Nigeria.
“In Nigeria today, only one out of every three babies is delivered in a health centre, decreasing a newborn baby’s chance of survival.
“This is just one of the issues that need to be addressed in order to improve the chances of survival of those babies born today and every day.
“This New Year Day, let’s all make a resolution to fulfill every right of every child, starting with the right to survive. We can save millions of babies if we invest in training and equipping local health workers so that every newborn is born into a safe pair of hands.”
“We can and must do more to ensure that children born in Nigeria survive their first day of life and are able to survive and thrive for many months and years to come’’, Ironside added.
UNICEF’s Every Child Alive campaign further called for a steady supply of clean water and electricity at health facilities, the presence of a skilled health attendant during birth, ample supplies and medicines to prevent and treat complications during pregnancy, delivery and birth, and empowered adolescent girls and women who can demand better quality of health services.