By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
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.
UNICEF made the revelation in a statement issued yesterday by its Commutations Specialist, Eva Hinds.
“Today, Nigerian babies will make up 6.5 percent of the estimated 395,072 babies born on New Year’s Day globally.
“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.
“Globally, over half of the world’s births are estimated to take place in just eight countries, including Nigeria”.
The countries according to the statement included: India with 69,944; China, 44,940 and Nigeria, 25,685.
Others are: Pakistan — 15,112; Indonesia — 13,256; The United States — 11086; The Democratic Republic of Congo — 10,053 and Bangladesh — 8,428.
At current life expectancy rates, the statement said a child born in Nigeria today is likely to live only to the year 2074 – 55 years of age. “A child born today in Denmark is likely to live until the 22nd century.
It added that only children born in three countries today have a lower life expectancy than that of Nigerian children: Central African Republic, Chad and Sierra Leone.
“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,” said Pernille Ironside, UNICEF Nigeria’s Acting Representative.
Globally in 2017, about 1 million babies died the day they were born, and 2.5 million in just their first month of life.
While calling on countries to meet every newborn’s right to health and survival, UNICEF said in Nigeria, each year, about 262,000 babies die at birth, the world’s second highest national total, while every day in Nigeria, 257 babies die within their first month of life.
“Among these children, most died from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia, a violation of their basic right to survival.
“In Nigeria today, only one out of every three babies is delivered in a health centre, decreasing a newborn baby’s chance of survival,” said Pernille Ironside. “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,” said Pernille Ironside. “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.”