A UNICEF report released Tuesday ranks countries by their newborn mortality rates in 2016.The report found that the country with the highest newborn mortality rate was Pakistan, which saw about one in every 22 infants die before turning 1 month old.
The country with the lowest newborn mortality rate was Japan: only one death in every 1,111 births.
A baby born in Pakistan was almost 50 times more likely to die during his or her first month than a baby born in Japan — or Iceland, which ranked second lowest, or Singapore, which ranked third lowest, according to the report.
The report also showed that the United States and the United Kingdom had higher mortality rates among newborns than several other countries, including Cuba, Germany, Israel, South Korea and Singapore.
Top 10 countries with the highest and lowest rates
The UNICEF report was based on data from the United Nations Inter-agency Group for child mortality estimation.
The data was from 1990 (or earlier, depending on the country) to 2016.
Based on those data, the 10 countries with the highest newborn mortality rates in 2016 were::
- Central African Republic
- South Sudan
- Côte d’Ivoire, or Ivory Coast
Many of those countries are war-torn, have limited access to clean water at health facilities or have been affected by natural disasters, said Dr. Stefan Peterson, chief of health of UNICEF, who helped conduct the technical analysis and review for the report.
“That is a tremendous challenge for these countries to begin with. Then they also face challenges of not investing sufficiently in health services,” he said. “Some of them only spend 1% of gross domestic product on health, while the national recommendation is to spend at least 5% of public resources on health.’
The 10 countries with the lowest newborn mortality rates in 2016, according to the report, were:
- Republic of Korea, or South Korea
`These are countries that have for a long time had political will to tackle the quality of maternal and newborn care,’ Peterson said.
`They have educate women, he said.`They’ve tackled adolescent pregnancy, and they have quality health services centered around midwives who actually are able to wash their hands in health facilities and have access to the basic treatments and drugs.”