The US newborn death rate is the worst of any industrialized country, according to a new report released on Tuesday by Save the Children.
The report shows that the United States is worse than 68 other countries when it comes to the death rate of newborns on their first day. Countries ranking better than the US included Egypt, Turkey, and Peru.
One million babies die each year on the same day they were born. Of those, 11,000 were born in America, according to the report. The group asserts that the majority of the newborns who die could be saved with fairly inexpensive interventions.
The report reads, in part, “A baby’s first day is the most dangerous day of life — in the United States and in countries rich and poor.” The majority of babies who die on their first day do so because they were born too early.
Thirty-five percent of newborns who die were born pre-term. Another 23 percent will die from complications at birth, while another 23 percent die from severe infections. Nine percent will pass away from birth defects. Save the Children adds:
“The United States has the highest first-day death rate in the industrialized world. An estimated 11,300 newborn babies die each year in the United States on the day they are born. This is 50 percent more first-day deaths than all other industrialized countries combined.”
The US newborn death rate is certainly alarming, especially considering the country’s place within the industrialized world. Save the Children attributes the death rate to the fact that the United States has the highest preterm birth rate of any industrialized country.
Babies who are born preterm, or before 37 weeks of pregnancy, can experience multiple complications, including loss of body heat, inability to take in proper nutrition, breathing difficulties, and infections. The report explains that politics and culture play a role.
Along with announcing the high US newborn death rate, the report also suggested four simple products costing between 13 cents and $6 each that could save one million newborns each year. Those products were: simple bag-and-mask devices to help babies breathe; the antiseptic chlorhexidine to prevent umbilical cord infections, antibiotics to treat infections; and steroid injections to delay preterm labor.
Are you alarmed by the high US newborn death rate?
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