One million babies die on the first day of their lives every year, a children’s charity has warned.
Save the Children said premature birth and complications during childbirth – including prolonged labour, pre-eclampsia and infection – are leading to a large number of babies who die within a day of birth.
Over half these deaths could be prevented with greater access to expert health care workers and the charity said it is “criminal” so many could be averted.
A new report by the charity, Ending Newborn Deaths, also states that 1.2 million babies are stillborn each year.
Under a blueprint for change – called the Five Point Newborn Promise – focus would be put on training and equipping enough skilled health workers to make sure no baby is born without proper help and removing fees for all pregnancy and birth services.
Every year 40 million women give birth without trained help and in some countries just one in 10 women receive assistance during labour.
Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, said: “The first day of a child’s life is the most dangerous and too many mothers give birth alone on the floor of their home or in the bush without any life-saving help.
“We hear horror stories of mothers walking for hours during labour to find trained help, all too often ending in tragedy.
“It’s criminal that many of these deaths could be averted simply if there was someone on hand to make sure the birth took place safely and who knew what to do in a crisis.”
Neal Long, chief executive of stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands, said: “In the UK mothers-to-be have structured antenatal care and practically all births are attended by trained medical staff… see more