LONDON: More women and newborns survive now than ever before, largely thanks to better healthcare, United Nations data showed on Thursday (Sep 19), but a baby or a pregnant woman still dies every 11 seconds somewhere in the world.
A report led by UN agencies UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO), found that since 2000, child deaths have reduced by nearly half and maternal deaths by more than a third, mostly due to improved access to affordable, quality health services.
But the latest data also showed that 6.2 million children worldwide died in 2018 before their 15th birthday, and more than 290,000 women died due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth in 2017.
Of the total child deaths, 5.3 million were among under fives, with almost half of these in the first month of life.
"A skilled pair of hands to help mothers and newborns around the time of birth, along with clean water, adequate nutrition, basic medicines and vaccines, can make the difference between life and death," Henrietta Fore, UNICEF's executive director, said in the report.
She urged governments and health leaders to invest in health services to "do all it takes … to save these precious lives".
The data showed vast inequa