26,039 Nigerians’ll be born on New Year Day –UNICEF

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund has said that an estimated 26,039 babies will be born in Nigeria on New Year’s Day.

UNICEF, in a statement made available to our correspondent on Tuesday, said Nigerian babies would account for almost seven per cent of the estimated 392,078 babies to be born on New Year’s Day globally – the third-highest number of babies in the world, after India and China.

UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Mr Peter Hawkins, in the statement said, “The beginning of a new year – and this year, a new decade – is a chance for us to reflect on our hopes and dreams for the future of Nigeria – especially for those who stand to inherit this country: its children.

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

Hawkins also urged world leaders and countries to invest in health workers with the know-how and equipment to save every newborn.

“Each January, UNICEF celebrates babies born on New Year’s Day, an auspicious day for child birth around the world. However, for millions of newborns around the world, including in Nigeria, the day of their birth is far less auspicious, and sadly is often their last.

“In 2018, 2.5 million newborns died in just their first month of life around the world; 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. Also, more than 2.5 million babies are born dead each year – with more than 400,000 stillborn deaths taking place in Nigeria annually,” the statement reads in part.

Written by Dayo Ojerinde, published on Punch Newspapers