The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has released a new report ‘Every Child Alive’ outlining the unacceptable high levels of preventable neonatal deaths¹ across the world. Five newborn babies around the world die every minute.

The report included analysis of the countries with the highest and lowest newborn mortality rates, as well as outlined measures that can be taken to prevent this unnecessary loss of life.

The UK is in 155th place of the 184 countries listed in the ‘rank of neonatal mortality rate’. While this places the UK among the better performing countries for neonatal death, it means that 2.6 babies die in their first month for every 1,000 live births. This is equivalent to one in 385.

Sands commented on the story which has appeared in today’s Daily Mail, The Times and The Huffington Post.

Dr Clea Harmer, Chief Executive at Sands, said: “The rate of babies dying in the first month of life in the UK has remained almost static for three years with little progress on reduction. Many of them are born too early in pregnancy, but we don't always know how to prevent prematurity. 

"Inequality continues to be an issue in England where there's a noticeable north-south divide with the rate of babies who die in the first month of life in the north of England being almost double that of the rate in the south. Women who live in the most socially deprived areas are at higher risk of their newborns dying, and smoking is also a factor as 20% of women whose newborn dies are smokers. 

"Fundamentally though we need more focus on delivering vulnerable babies in the right place with the right care if we want to save more lives.”

For further information and to see a copy of the full report visit: UNICEF’s website

¹A neonatal death is when a baby is born alive but dies with 28 days of birth.