The study showed that over 1.1 million babies died of premature birth complications in 2013, while pneumonia, which used to be the leading cause of childhood death, killed over 935,000 souls worldwide.
At the same time, infectious diseases continue to steal the lives of most children under the age of five, counting 6.3 million deaths in 2013.
The global leaders when it comes to child mortality from premature birth complications are India, with 361,600, followed by Nigeria with 98,300 and Pakistan with 75,000 deaths. High rates of child death can also be found in West Africa, especially in the countries that are now fighting Ebola. While the outrageous disease continues to devastate these countries, hospitals are overwhelmed; hence, proper care for pregnant women or ill children is not available.
However, child mortality around the globe has dropped substantially. In the year 2000, approximate 9.9 million infants and children under the age of five died from several illnesses or infections. The main reason behind the number drop is the work done to fight against pneumonia, measles and diarrhea.
One of the members in the research team that conducted the study, Judy Lawn, who is also a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, noted in a statement:
“Two-thirds of the 1.1 million babies who die could be saved without intensive care.”
The little things like breastfeeding, keeping the child warm and in direct contact with the mother’s skin are the ones which can make a difference.
As to raise awareness for premature child mortality, more than 200 countries, UN and health organizations are initiating the Fourth World Prematurity Day, on Monday. This comes in the aid of parents, children or soon to be parents, in order to make them aware of the risks involving pre-term birth.
Dr. Robert Black of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is the leader of the team of researchers that are currently struggling to find out why do pre term births occur and how they can prevent them.
Further studies predicted that if the number of child deaths continues in this manner, we should expect a number of 4.4 million child deaths in the year of 2013, 60 percent of which will happen in the disadvantaged areas of Central and West Africa.