21 newborns die daily in SA

2013-05-07 14:10

Most of the 21 daily newborn deaths in South Africa could be prevented if all pregnant women who give birth are assisted by skilled healthcare workers, a report released today has found.

“Surviving the first day: State of the world’s mothers” was released by Save the Children, an independent organisation that champions children’s rights, in Johannesburg today.

Neven Hendricks, chairperson of Save the Children SA said it was unacceptable that, in a country where children’s rights are enshrined in the Constitution, “21 babies die every day on their first day of life”.

“South Africa is progressing at great speed in many ways, but the measure of any society is how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable ... when it comes to saving our children we are failing,” he said.

Chief executive officer of the organisation Pam Innes agreed.

“We have made significant progress in reducing child mortality by rolling out antiretroviral treatment in South Africa but we are failing to save our children from preventable deaths that arise during pregnancy complications,” she said.

“More needs to be done to train healthcare workers to be able to deal with complicated pregnancies. We also have to create a safe environment where mothers can deliver their babies without the worry of infections,” Innes explained.

Although the report focused on child and maternal mortality it also ranked different countries in terms of the health, education and economic status of mothers and the wellbeing of their children.

South Africa was ranked 77 out of 176 countries.

» For more stories on the health beat, read City Press newspaper, available nationwide on Sundays.

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