With the birth of 26 million children each year, India accounts for nearly one fifth of the world’s annual child births and out of 71,350 babies born in India every day (2018), one infant dies every minute.

 

Nearly 46% of all maternal deaths and 40% of neonatal deaths happen during labor or the first 24 hours after birth.

 

Prematurity (35%), neonatal infections (33%), birth asphyxia (20%), and congenital malformations (9%) are among the major causes of newborn deaths.

 

Approximately 220 newborns die every day due to birth asphyxia and neonatal encephalopathy. In 2019 alone, it was estimated that neonatal encephalopathy and birth asphyxia contributed to 83,850 (range: 55,630-123,420) neonatal deaths in India. The incidence of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)/neonatal encephalopathy is 10-20 fold higher in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) such as India compared to high-income countries. Among the states with the highest burden of birth asphyxia related complications, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka ranked 6th, 11th, and 16th place, respectively.

 

While there have been considerable declines in infant mortality during the last two decades, progress to achieve target reductions in neonatal mortality has been slow despite continued public health efforts.

 

Neonatal deaths can be a loss to the society on various levels. It is the moral obligation of the society to provide safe and healthy environment for mothers and children. Apart from moral grounds, it has been shown that one sick child or a family member in a household can mean spiral of death to the whole family because the family will be stressed under financial burden. Not only the financial burden is seen at household level, the financial loss can be felt at the national level also. A recent study by TaHB and presented at an international conference effectively showed that lost fiscal value from death of newborn babies due to HIE assessed by different economic methods ranged from USD 4.9 billion to 6.4 billion per year. And TaHB also showed that with 10% reduction in the number of newborn deaths due to HIE, we value productivity gains of USD 1.3 billion (range 1.1 -1.8 billion) per year.

Prakash Kaabur

President, Co-founder, Board Member

Mahantesh Nashi

Board Member

Ajay Kumar

Board Member