Under-5 Mortality in MENA: Big Successes, Remaining Challenges

Under-5 Mortality in MENA: Big Successes, Remaining Challenges

March 06, 2014 at 03:03pm

There is both good news and cause for concern in data from a recent UNICEF report regarding infant and child mortality in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). On the one hand, the mortality rate for children under 5 years of age in the region has declined by 58% between 1990 and 2012. Also encouraging: the region’s mortality rate for infants in their first 28 days of life (the neonatal period) has declined by 48% during the same period. This change was affected by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which registered the largest drops in neonatal mortality rates of any countries in the world.

On the other hand, the UNICEF study finds that Yemen has the third highest under-5 mortality rate in the world, at 60 per 1,000 live births. Meanwhile, the MENA region remains one of four regions globally where neonatal deaths account for more than half of all deaths (51%) among under-5 children in 2012.

Significantly, the UNICEF report says that more than 20% of neonatal deaths, including those from pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis, “are readily preventable or treatable with proven, cost-effective interventions.” The report adds that investment in training and equipment that addresses the 24 hours around the time of birth “holds the greatest potential for reducing neonatal mortality.”

GE Healthcare develops a wide range of solutions to help support a healthy developmental environment at every point during pregnancy, all through the first days of life, and at critical moments for infants. These include the Lullaby Resus Plus, which gives healthcare providers a simple and efficient device to perform neonatal resuscitation quickly. Other neonatal equipment from GE Healthcare includes several incubators – including the Giraffe Omnibed, the new Giraffe Blue Spot PT Lite, and the Panda FS Warmer – all of which provide state-of-the-art neonatal microenvironments.

Given the importance of the labor and delivery period (perinatal period) for both mother and child, GE Healthcare offers a range of perinatal solutions designed not only to provide excellent patient care, but also to deliver simple and reliable solutions that reflect the challenges and concerns of healthcare providers and institutions across the globe. This includes Centricity Perinatal, which helps healthcare providers assess and respond to potential labor complications quickly.

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