Highlights

United Nations formally launched a report on stillbirths titled “A Neglected Tragedy: The Global Burden of Stillbirths”. StillBirth’s report was created by United Nations Children’s Fund, WHO, World Bank and the United Nations department of economic and social affairs.

UN StillBirth’s report says that a stillborn baby is delivered every 16 seconds.  84% of these grievous episodes occur in low and lower-middle-income countries. This is the first-time the United Nations published a stillbirth report.

COVID-19 Pandemic Impact

Covid-19 Pandemic impact has induced 50 per cent reduction in health services. This has created two lakh additional still birth in 17 low and middle-income countries.

Key findings of the UN report

United Nation’s stillbirths report says that, there were around 1.9 million (19 lakh) still births worldwide. Of this 0.34 million (3 lakh) were from India. India along with other countries such as Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, China and Ethiopia contributed to half of all the stillbirth globally.

The progress in decline in still birth in India has improved in last 20 years. In 2010, stillbirth rate has improved by 2.7% as compared to 2000.

What is a stillbirth?

According to the stillbirth report, a still birth means a baby born with no signs of life at 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Why the rise during COVID-19 lockdown?

According to the WHO, 8 prenatal checkups, daily intake of Iron and Folic acid supplements and an ultrasound before 24 weeks of pregnancy is required to prevent stillbirth. However, due to reduced mobility and inability to access Health Care during the lockdown pregnant women were unable to achieve the above requisites.

Also, covid-19 pandemic disrupted the critical supply chains of essential medicines. This affected the Healthcare workers from ensuring adequate quality care to the pregnant women.

Forwards

Stillbirth report suggests that a sound investment is required in order to reduce the stillbirth rate.

United Nations Report on StillBirth