South Asian Insider
India leaves China way behind in births on Jan 1: Unicef
The United Nations (UN) World Population report released in June last year says India is projected to overtake China as the world's most populous country this decade - by 2027. (News Agencies)- On New Year's day, January 1, an estimated 67,385 babies were born in India - 17% of the estimated 392,078 babies born in the world that day, according to Unicef. India and seven other countries accounted for at least half of total global births. The other countries are: China (46,299), Nigeria (26,039), Pakistan (6,787), Indonesia (13,020), the United States (10,452), Democratic Republic of Congo (10,247) and Ethiopia (8,493). The United Nations (UN) World Population report released in June last year says India is projected to overtake China as the world's most populous country this decade - by 2027. Each January, UNICEF celebrates babies born on New Year's Day. "As the calendar flips each January, we are reminded of all the possibility and potential of each child embarking on her or his life's journey - if they are just given that chance," said Henrietta Fore, Unicef executive director, in a formal release issued by the organisation. To be sure, the numbers are estimates. UNICEF worked with the World Data Lab on these. "The estimates for the number of babies born on January 1, 2020, draw on the latest revision of the UN's World Population Prospects (2019). Building on these datasets, World Data Lab's (WDL) algorithm projects estimates of the number of births for each day by country," the UN agency said. In 2018, 2.5 million newborns died in just their first month of life; about a third of them on the first day of life. Among those children, most died from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections such as sepsis. In addition, more than 2.5 million babies are born dead each year. Over the past three decades, the world has seen remarkable progress in child survival, cutting the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday by more than half. But there has been slower progress for newborns. Babies dying in the first month accounted for 47% of all deaths among children under five in 2018, up from 40% in 1990. Child mortality is a huge public health concern in India with about 0.76 million babies dying in the neonatal period, and nearly 3.5 million babies being born premature, according to government data. In September last year, The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative report was released, showing significant progress on the child nutrition front in the country. "Over the past 27 years that have been analysed as part of the study, there has been a two-thirds decline in child mortality rate and what is attributed to malnutrition, but it is still a leading cause of mortality in children, highlighting the fact that a lot more needs to be done," said Dr Lalit Dandona, Indian Council of Medical Research distinguished scientist and national chair of population health.
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