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Most Dangerous Day of Baby's Life Is His Birthday: Save the Children

Update Date: May 07, 2013 11:50 AM EDT
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The absolute numbers about infant mortality seem promising. In the time period between today and 1990, there has been a 40 percent reduction in the number of deaths of children under the age of five. That has been achieved even though there are more people on the planet than ever before. However, according to a recent report, there is a lot more work to be done, especially because, as Save the Children explains, the most dangerous day of a person's life is on their birthday.

According to a recent report issued by Save the Children, three million children die a year before they are a month old. A million children die each year on the day on which they are born. Though many people assume the issue to a problem of the developing world, it occurs often in industrialized nations as well. The United States has over 11,000 babies that die on their birthday - 50 percent more than the rest of the industrialized world combine.

In fact, though infant mortality is seen as a problem in low-income countries, Save the Children has found that the gap is more often between the wealthy and the poor. According to the Christian Science Monitor, children born to parents in the poorest fifth of the population are 40 percent more likely to die than parents born in the richest fifth. This yawning gap exists because health care for the wealthy has improved in virtually every country, while health care for the poor has remained stagnant.

However, though there is a sense of grim fatalism about the deaths of babies, often enough infants' deaths can be prevented by quite inexpensive and easy tools. Save the Children recommends four tools, in fact, that cost between 13 cents and six dollars. NBC News reports that the list comprises bag-and-mask devices to help babies breathe after birth; the antibiotic called clorhexidine in order to prevent umbilical cord infections; steroid injections in order to prevent premature labor, because so many infant deaths are a result of preterm labor; and antibiotics in order to combat infections. The organization also recommends early and exclusive breastfeeding, as well as kangaroo mother care, which keeps the baby against the skin so the baby can be warm and stimulated.

The organization also ranks 176 countries on a scale of how well mothers are treated. Finland is first, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo is last. The United States is number 30, the lowest-ranked of the industrialized countries, Voice of America reports.

The organization says that much of the treatment of mothers is linked to political wills in various countries, which can be traced to the prominence of women in politics. In Finland and Sweden, for example, women have 43 and 45 percent of parliamentary seats, respectively. In the United States, women hold just 18 percent of Congressional seats.

The full report can be found here.

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