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Little Creatures, Big Improvements: The Success Story of a Decreasing Newborn Mortality Rate

By MaryAnn Placheril

According to a recent UNICEF report, the newborn mortality rate in Bangladesh has significantly decreased.

Back in 1990, when the mortality rate was 64.2 for every 1,000 newborns, births were assisted by family members without medical training. In these conditions, asphyxia was the leading cause of newborn mortality. Asphyxia occurs when the body is deprived of oxygen and thus, cannot breathe and regulate its functions. This then leads to death. In newborns, asphyxia frequently occurred during difficult or obstructed labor, yet, the untrained family did not know how to prevent it or treat it. Their lack of medical expertise in these cases proved fatal.

To fight this common trend, the Bagladeshi government made a significant push against the problem in 2010. It opened centers for childbirth, trained personnel, and encouraged families to have births outside the home. Much of this development was funded by other governments, international organizations, and non-governmental aid groups. This technique proved successful for as described by the UNICEF report the rates have decreased and are predicted to continue to fall.

Bangladesh’s success shows that with monetary investment and governmental support, many health problems in developing countries are wholly treatable.¬†Maybe in the future other medical problems will be solved!