United Nations Still Birth Report

Published: October 12, 2020

The United Nations recently launched a report on stillbirths titled “A Neglected Tragedy: The Global Burden of Stillbirths”. The report was created by UNICEF, World Health Organisation, World Bank and the United Nations department of economic and social affairs.

The report says that a stillborn baby is delivered every 16 seconds.  84 percentage of these grievous episodes occur in low and lower-middle-income countries.

This is the first-time a stillbirth report has been published by the United Nations.

Impact of COVID-19

The covid-19 impact has induced 50% reduction in health services. This has created 200,000 additional still birth in 17 low and middle-income countries.

Key findings of the report

The report says that, there were around 1.9 million still births globally. Of this 0.34 million were from India. India along with other countries such as Nigeria, Congo, Pakistan, China and Ethiopia contributed to half of all the stillbirth in the world.

The progress in decline in still birth in India has improved in last two decades. The stillbirth rate has improved by 2.7% in 2010 as compared to 2000.

What is a stillbirth?

According to the report, a still birth means a baby born with no signs of life at 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Why the rise during lockdown?

According to the World Health Organisation, eight prenatal checkups, daily intake of Iron and Folic acid supplements and an ultrasound before 24 weeks of pregnancy is required to prevent stillbirth. However, due to reduced mobility and inability to access Health Care during the lockdown pregnant women were unable to achieve the above requisites.

Also, covid-19 disrupted the critical supply chains of essential medicines. This affected the Healthcare workers from ensuring adequate quality care to the pregnant women.

Way forward

The report suggests that a sound investment is required in order to reduce the stillbirth rate.

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