As the calendar turns to 2019, UNICEF calls on nations to meet every newborn’s right to health and survival…
An estimated 5,500 babies will be born in Tanzania on New Year’s Day, UNICEF said today. Tanzanian babies will account for 1.4 per cent of the estimated 395,072 babies to be born on New Year’s Day.
In cities around the world, revellers will welcome not only the New Year with great festivities but also their newest and tiniest residents. Fiji in the Pacific will most likely deliver 2019’s first baby; the United States, its last. Globally, over half of these births are estimated to take place in eight countries including an estimated 69,994 babies in India and 44,940 in China.
According to UNICEF, babies born in Eastern and Southern Africa will account for 11 per cent of the estimated 395,072 babies to be born globally on New Year’s Day. Almost 64 per cent per cent of these births will take place in 6 countries within the region, with the largest number of births on New Year’s Day project for:
- Ethiopia — 8,185
- United Republic of Tanzania-5,500
- Uganda — 4,560
- Kenya — 3,862
- Angola —3,671
- South Africa -3,320
In Tanzania, on January 1, families will welcome countless Barakas and Ayeshas, Jumas and Graces. But in several countries, many babies may not even be named as they won’t make it past their first day.
In 2017, about 1 million babies died around the world on the day they were born, and 2.5 million in just their first month of life. Deaths of children under five in Tanzania has been reduced by 40 per cent since 2005. This is a positive trend. However, still today, more than 300 children die every day from preventable causes like diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria. 40 per cent of these deaths, in the country, happen in the first month of a child’s life.
The Government of Tanzania has taken critical steps to address child survival. These include improved infrastructure, availability of skilled health care providers at different levels to provide quality health services, improved supplies of essential medicines, expansion of community-based health services to increase access to care for mothers and children, girls and women’s empowerment and instituting clear accountability mechanisms. In November 2018, the Government, with support from UNICEF and other partners, launched Jiongeze, a nationwide awareness campaign to enlist the support of different groups of people to dramatically reduce preventable maternal and newborn deaths.
“While we appreciate the results achieved we cannot rest until every child born stays alive. This New Year Day, let’s all make a resolution to do our part to support children to enjoy their rights, starting with the right of every child to survive. We can save millions of babies if we invest in a package of interventions that includes training and equipping local-level health workers so that every birth is safe”, said Maniza Zaman, UNICEF Representative, Tanzania.
2019 also marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which UNICEF will be commemorating worldwide throughout the year. Under the Convention, governments committed to, among other things, taking measures to save and nurture every child by providing good quality health care.
UNICEF’s Every Child Alive campaign calls for immediate investment to deliver affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and newborn. These include 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 empowering adolescent girls and women who can demand a better quality of health services.
“Thirty years after world leaders committed to preserving children’s rights, we’re still losing newborns because of who their parents are, where they reside, the knowledge they have and what services they can access and afford,” said Maniza Zaman. “This year, we have to work harder to change this so that every baby in Tanzania has the chance to survive and enjoy a bright childhood.”