They cite a report which shows that a staggering 7 500 babies who are born alive die on their first day every year and 3 000 mothers around the country die every year due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth.
These stats were revealed at the launch of Save the Children SA, an independent arm of the world’s largest children’s rights organisation. It also released the 2013 State of the World’s Mothers report, which ranks countries based on analyses of the health, education and economic status of mothers and well-being of children to determine the best and worst places in the world to be a mother.
South Africa ranked 77, mostly in poor and disadvantaged communities. Despite advances in the fight against HIV/Aids the report showed there hadn’t been progress in saving lives at the time of birth.
Sadly most of these deaths are preventable if more pregnant women have access to skilled, trained healthcare workers and medical facilities.
African mothers and babies at risk
According to the report, sub-Saharan African mothers and babies faced the greatest risks in maternal and newborn death rates. It also showed that 35% of newborn deaths are caused by premature birth complications.
The Star reported that according to the UN, there are four products available which could aid in saving newborns, these include steroid injections for pre-term labour, resuscitation devices, chlorhexidine cord cleansing and injectable antibiotics to treat newborn sepsis and pneumonia.