Better care for babies during the first month after they are born is key to reducing child mortality rates in developing countries.
According to a statistics released by World Health Organization today, 40 per cent of deaths of children under the age of five occur in the first month of life, most in the first week.
Major causes of infant deaths include malnutrition and diseases such as malaria, an illness that can be prevented by ensuring that newborns sleep under insecticide-treated mosquito nets, the update said.
The report – compiled annually and based on more than 100 health indicators reported by WHO’s 193 Member States – also showed that deaths among children under the age of five have dropped by 30 per cent from 12.5 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008.
Also, the percentage of underweight children is estimated to have declined from 25 per cent in 1990 to 16 per cent in 2010, HIV/AIDS infections dropped 16 per cent between 2001 and 2008, and the percentage of the world’s population with access to safe water increased from 77 per cent to 87 per cent.