26,000 babies will be born in Nigeria today, says UNICEF

26,000 babies will be born in Nigeria today, says UNICEF

  • Lagos records first delivery at 12.01 am

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed that no fewer than 26,039 babies will be born in Nigeria today being New Year’s Day.

UNICEF’s Nigeria Representative Peter Hawkins said in a statement in Lagos that Nigerian babies would account for almost 7 percent of the estimated 392,078 babies to be born on New Year’s Day globally.

The statement revealed that India will have the highest number of newborns as 67,385 babies would be born in that country followed by China with 46,299, while 16,787 babies would be born in Pakistan, 13,020 in Indonesia, 10,452 in the United States of America, 10,247 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 8,494 in Ethiopia.

However, Fiji in the Pacific will most likely deliver 2020’s first baby, the United States, it’s last and globally, over half of the births are estimated to take place in eight countries.

“As we start each new year, we are reminded of the potential of each and every Nigerian child embarking on her or his life’s journey if only they are given that chance to survive and thrive,” Hawkins said.

The representative said for millions of newborns around the world, including in Nigeria, the day of their birth was far less auspicious, and sadly was often their last.

According to him, 2.5 million newborns died in just their first month of life around the world in 2018; about a third of them on the first day of life.

“In Nigeria, this was 318,522 deaths; among those children, most died from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis,” he said.

Hawkins said in the last three decades, Nigeria and the world have experienced remarkable progress in child survival, reducing the number of children who die globally before their fifth birthday by more than half.

“In Nigeria, this number reduced by about 500,000 between 1990 and 2018, but there has been slower progress for newborns. Babies dying in their first month accounted for 47 per cent of all deaths among five-year-old children in 2018, up from 40 per cent in 1990.

“The figures are 29 per cent, up from 21 per cent in 1990. UNICEF’s Every Child Alive campaign calls for immediate investment in health workers with the right training, who are equipped with the right medicines to ensure every mother and newborn is cared for by safe hands to prevent and treat complications during pregnancy, delivery, and birth,” he said.

Meanwhile, the wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu today welcomed and presented gifts items to the first babies of the year in four state owned health facilities namely Ijede General Hospital, Agbowa General Hospital, Ketu-Ejirin General Hospital and Lagos Island Maternity Hospital.

Baby Agede, a male who weighed 2kg delivered at exactly 12.01a.m. by Mrs. Bukola Agede is the first baby of the year at Ijede General Hospital. Another baby, a female who weighed 3.1kg delivered at 12.07am by Mrs. Beauty Agbor is the first baby of the year in Agbowa General Hospital.

Also, baby Kazeem, a boy, who weighed 3kg and delivered at 1.40a.m. to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Kazeem is the first baby of the year at Ketu-Ejirin General Hospital while the first baby of the year at the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital is baby Momoh. The baby; a male who weighed 2.6kg was delivered at 12.09a.m. by Mrs Mary Momoh

Dr. Sanwo-Olu who was at these hospitals to celebrate with the new mothers on the arrival of their babies said the birth of a child do not happen by chance but requires that the mothers takes steps to ensure that she lives a healthy life whilst pregnant and gets skilled care during labour and delivery.

“Just as the birth of a healthy baby requires that the mother takes steps to ensure that she lives a healthy life whilst pregnant and gets skilled care during labour and delivery, we must also play our part to ensure that we live the kind of life that will promote our own welfare and the well-being of our society”, she stated.

While noting that the birth of a child brings good fortune to a society, Sanwo-Olu averred that the birth of a child is significant and symbolizes the assurance that human heritage and life force is carried on to the next generation.

“We are here today not just to celebrate new lives but also to seek opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the people who need our assistance. Bearing in mind always that our show of love, kindness and compassion is only an extension of gratitude to our maker for the same grace granted to us”, She said.

The wife of the Governor while highlighting strategies implemented by the administration of her husband to strengthen the health sector and halt the trend of maternal and child mortality in Lagos State mentioned that two new Maternal and Child Centres (MCC) at Alimosho and Eti-Osa areas of the state were commissioned to complement the existing ones.

Sanwo-Olu added that Neonatal Care Units as well as equipment and resources was also provided at some general hospitals to enhance the quality of maternal and child care services adding that her office and the State government are poised to do more this year.

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