Japan is safest place to be born, UNICEF report says

Japan Today -- Feb 22
Japan tops the world as the country with the lowest rate of newborn mortality in 2016, followed by Iceland and Singapore, while Pakistan is the riskiest place to be born according to a new UNICEF report launched on Tuesday.

"Japan, Iceland and Singapore are the three safest countries in which to be born, as measured by their newborn mortality rates," the report, called "Every Child Alive," said.

"Babies born in Japan stand the best chance of surviving," it said, reporting a 1 in 1,111 risk of death for newborns in the country, followed by Iceland with a 1 in 1,000 risk and Singapore at 1 in 909.

On the other hand, it reported that "children born in Pakistan face the worst odds" with a 1 in 22 chance of death.

According to the 33-page report, the risk of dying as a newborn varies widely with location of birth. Annually, some 2.6 million babies die before turning a month old, with roughly one million of them dying on the day of birth. An additional 2.6 million babies each year are stillborn.

Eight of the 10 countries with the highest newborn mortality rates are in sub-Saharan Africa. Following Pakistan, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan are the second and third most risky places to be born, respectively.

"Japan has tackled this issue of every child alive historically and we have heavily invested our government resources and knowledge to solve this problem," Japan's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Yasuhisa Kawamura told an audience attending the New York launch of the report.

He also stressed the importance his country places on ensuring other nations are not left behind, referring to a global push to improve the lives of millions around the globe while placing special emphasis on the most vulnerable such as infants, whom he said need the greatest level of protection.

- Japan Today