top of page

One stillbirth occurs every 16 seconds, according to first-ever joint UN estimates

COVID-19-related health service disruptions could worsen the situation, potentially adding nearly 200 000 more stillbirths over a 12-month period


One stillbirth occurs every 16 seconds, according to first ever joint UN estimates
Pregnant Woman, Representative Image

Nov 1, WHO: Almost 2 million babies are stillborn every year – or 1 every 16 seconds – according to the first-ever joint stillbirth estimates released by UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank Group and the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 


The vast majority of stillbirths, 84 per cent, occur in low- and lower-middle-income countries, according to the new report, A Neglected Tragedy: The Global Burden of Stillbirths. In 2019, 3 in 4 stillbirths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa or Southern Asia. A stillbirth is defined in the report as a baby born with no signs of life at 28 weeks of pregnancy or more. 



“Losing a child at birth or during pregnancy is a devastating tragedy for a family, one that is often endured quietly, yet all too frequently, around the world,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “Every 16 seconds, a mother somewhere will suffer the unspeakable tragedy of stillbirth. Beyond the loss of life, the psychological and financial costs for women, families and societies are severe and long-lasting. For many of these mothers, it simply didn’t have to be this way. A majority of stillbirths could have been prevented with high-quality monitoring, proper antenatal care and a skilled birth attendant.”


The report warns that the COVID-19 pandemic could worsen the global number of stillbirths. A 50 per cent reduction in health services due to the pandemic could cause nearly 200 000 additional stillbirths over a 12-month period in 117 low- and middle-income countries. This corresponds to an increase in the number of stillbirths by 11.1 per cent.



According to modelling done for the report by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 13 countries could see a 20 per cent increase or more in the number of stillbirths over a 12-month period. 


Most stillbirths are due to poor quality of care during pregnancy and birth. Lack of investments in antenatal and intrapartum services and in strengthening the nursing and midwifery workforce are key challenges, the report says.  


Over 40 per cent of stillbirths occur during labour—a loss that could be avoided with access to a trained health worker at childbirth and timely emergency obstetric care. Around half of the stillbirths in sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Southern Asia occur during labour, compared to 6 per cent in Europe, Northern America, Australia and New Zealand. 


Even before the pandemic caused critical disruptions in health services, few women in low- and middle-income countries received timely and high-quality care to prevent stillbirths. Half of the 117 countries analyzed in the report have coverage that ranges from a low of less than 2 per cent to a high of only 50 per cent for 8 important maternal health interventions such as C-section, malaria prevention, management of hypertension in pregnancy and syphilis detection and treatment. Coverage for assisted vaginal delivery - a critical intervention for preventing stillbirths during labour – is estimated to reach less than half of pregnant women who need it.



As a result, despite advances in health services to prevent or treat causes of child death, progress in lowering the stillbirth rate has been slow. From 2000 to 2019, the annual rate of reduction in the stillbirth rate was just 2.3 per cent, compared to a 2.9 per cent reduction in neonatal mortality, and 4.3 per cent in mortality among children aged 1–59 months.

Progress, however, is possible with sound policy, programmes and investment. 


"Welcoming a baby into the world should be a time of great joy, but every day thousands of parents experience unbearable sadness because their babies are stillborn,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “The tragedy of stillbirth shows how vital it is to reinforce and maintain essential health services, and how critical it is to increase investment in nurses and midwives.”  


The report also notes that stillbirth is not only a challenge for poor countries. In 2019, 39 high-income countries had a higher number of stillbirths than neonatal deaths and 15 countries had a higher number of stillbirths than infant deaths. A mother’s level of education is one of the greatest drivers of inequity in high-income countries. 



In both low- and high-income settings, stillbirth rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas. Socioeconomic status is also linked to a greater incidence of stillbirth. For example, in Nepal, women of minority castes had stillbirth rates between 40 to 60 per cent higher than women from upper-class castes.


Ethnic minorities in high-income countries, in particular, may lack access to enough quality health care. The report cites that Inuit populations in Canada, for example, have been observed to have stillbirth rates nearly three times higher than the rest of Canada, and African American women in the United States of America have nearly twice the risk of stillbirth compared to white women.


“COVID-19 has triggered a devastating secondary health crisis for women, children and adolescents due to disruptions in life-saving health services,” said Muhammad Ali Pate, Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank and Director of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents. “Pregnant women need continued access to quality care, throughout their pregnancy and during childbirth. We are supporting countries in strengthening their health systems to prevent stillbirths and ensure that every pregnant woman can access quality health care services.”




About UN IGME

The United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation or UN IGME was formed in 2004 to share data on child mortality, improve methods for child mortality estimation, report on progress towards child survival goals and enhance country capacity to produce timely and properly assessed estimates of child mortality. UN IGME is led by UNICEF and includes the World Health Organization, the World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. For more information visit: http://www.childmortality.org/





Published on Oct 8, WHO, 2020, Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

Continue reading more from the below Tags-

2 views0 comments

Comments


Planner 5D- Interior design app

Planner 5D- Interior design app

Flipkart Online Shopping App

Flipkart Online Shopping App

World population to reach 8 billion this year, as the growth rate slows

July 12, 2022 at 6:57:56 AM

15 November 2022 is predicted to be the day that the global population reaches eight billion. The projection is revealed in the UN’s World Population Prospects 2022 report, which also shows that India is on course to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023.

World population to reach 8 billion this year, as the growth rate slows

WHO: Nearly one billion people have a mental disorder

June 22, 2022 at 7:20:50 AM

Nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of mental disorder, according to the latest UN data – a staggering figure that is even more worrying if you consider that it includes around one in seven teenagers.

WHO: Nearly one billion people have a mental disorder

What can the UN do? Check the top 5 questions answered

April 6, 2022 at 10:51:48 AM

The current war in Ukraine, following the Russian invasion, has sparked all sorts of questions about the United Nations, particularly the role of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Secretary-General.

What can the UN do? Check the top 5 questions answered

Ukraine: UN’s Guterres joins call for Bucha war crimes probe

April 6, 2022 at 8:22:29 AM

UN chief António Guterres on Tuesday added his voice to the growing international calls for a war crimes investigation into the killing of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

Ukraine: UN’s Guterres joins call for Bucha war crimes probe

Recent terrorist attacks in Israel undermine ‘prospects for peace’: Guterres

March 31, 2022 at 8:29:57 AM

Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday night condemned recent terrorist attacks in Israel that have claimed the lives of at least 11 Israeli citizens.

Recent terrorist attacks in Israel undermine ‘prospects for peace’: Guterres

China's BYD ceases to produce gasoline-powered vehicles

4/4/22, 7:00 AM

Chinese auto manufacturer BYD announced Sunday that it has already ceased the production of traditional gasoline-powered vehicles starting from March.

China's BYD ceases to produce gasoline-powered vehicles

Performance-oriented all-new ŠKODA SLAVIA 1.5 TSI Launched creates a segment of its own

3/27/22, 10:42 AM

All new ŠKODA SLAVIA 1.5 TSI starts at ₹ 16.19 lacs

Performance-oriented all-new ŠKODA SLAVIA 1.5 TSI Launched creates a segment of its own

CARS24 Raises $450 Million, Nearly Doubles Its Valuation To $1.84 Billion

9/25/21, 6:16 AM

CARS24, India’s leading e-commerce platform for pre-owned vehicles, announced today the closing of a $450M round of funding including a $340M Series F equity round alongside $110M debt from diversified financial institutions.

CARS24 Raises $450 Million, Nearly Doubles Its Valuation To $1.84 Billion

Tata Motors launches the ‘XPRES’ brand for fleet customers

7/18/21, 6:13 PM

Tata Motors, one of India’s leading automobile manufacturers, today announced the launch of a new brand ‘XPRES,’ exclusively for fleet customers.

Tata Motors launches the ‘XPRES’ brand for fleet customers

Audi India announces curated ownership plans for Audi e-tron and Audi e-tron Sportback customers

7/18/21, 5:56 PM

Special Service Plans, Extended Warranty and Buyback for a hassle-free ownership experience

Audi India announces curated ownership plans for Audi e-tron and Audi e-tron Sportback customers

TikTok hits 1 billion global active users

9/28/21, 8:56 AM

TikTok mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.

TikTok hits 1 billion global active users

FACT CHECK: Crypto is increasingly being used for criminal activity and is a haven for illicit finance

6/23/21, 6:11 AM

Because cryptocurrency is still new, we are often asked about the biggest myths surrounding it. It’s common for a new market or product to confuse people until they get familiar with it. Think about Airbnb: the idea of staying in a stranger’s home seemed crazy until it didn’t.

FACT CHECK: Crypto is increasingly being used for criminal activity and is a haven for illicit finance

PUBG: NEW STATE surpasses 17 Million Google play store PRE-REGISTRATIONS following its recent ALPHA TEST

6/19/21, 4:40 AM

KRAFTON, Inc. to open pre-registration for the game on Apple’s App Store in Q3 2021

PUBG: NEW STATE surpasses 17 Million Google play store PRE-REGISTRATIONS following its recent ALPHA TEST
bottom of page