The birth of a child is usually met with celebrations and joy. But for more than one million mothers around the world every year, it is a day of mourning.
Save the Children estimates that more than one million children die each year on the day of birth. Another two million children do not survive their first month of life, says the 14thState of the World’s Mothers report.
Released around Mother’s Day every year, the report from Save the Children scores countries on the health and safety of mothers. This year, the index calls attention to child survival in addition to maternal health.
Nearly two-thirds of global newborn deaths occur in ten countries. They include larger nations like Nigeria, India, China and Indonesia as well as nations with high infant mortality rates such as Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Tanzania.
“Saving newborn lives will prevent incalculable suffering. It is also a vital piece of the global development agenda,” says Melinda Gates in the report introduction. “Children surviving and staying healthy means more children in school and able to learn, which in turn means productive adults who can drive sustained economic growth.”
As the BBC reports, this is not due to lack of food but to rising food prices, nor is it limited to poor countries:
The charity says that children under two are most in need of help because the body and brain are developing fast at that age. Prolonged malnutrition for these children can irreversibly stunt their growth and reduce their IQ by as much as 15 points.
India is home to a third of the world’s malnourished children. Some 43% of them suffer from malnutrition and three out of four are anaemic.
Malnutrition doesn’t just kill, of course. Save the Children estimates lack of food and a proper diet also cause physical and mental disabilities for hundreds of millions of children who survive on poor diets.
Here’s a video about India’s massive child malnutrition problem from Al Jazeera:
Other news stories based on the Save the Children report: