Apr 4, 2005
Of 130 million babies born each year in the world, four million die in their first month. In the rich countries, the proportion of babies dying so quickly is four per 1000, while in the poor countries it is 33 per 1000, a figure eight times higher. Of those four million newborns, three-quarters of them could be saved by simple methods.
Two-thirds of the newborn deaths came in only ten countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia and Tanzania. They could be prevented if there were facilities and medical supplies that the poor countries don't have. Newborn babies also die from serious infections, the majority of which could be prevented with sanitary facilities or treated with simple medications. Add to this the 11 million infants who are carried off by epidemics before the age of five years.
Almost three-quarters of the deaths of newborns could be avoided by taking measures costing perhaps four billion dollars a year. And what is four billion compared to the cost of the war led by the U.S. in Iraq?