ABUJA – United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, has decried the low life expectancy rate for children in Nigeria, saying those born in the country in 2019 may not live beyond the year 2074.
This was stated in a press release issued to journalists in Abuja by UNICEF Nigeria’s Communication Specialist, Eva Hinds.
Ms. Hinds, who described Nigeria’s performance on the global life expectancy index for children as comparatively unimpressive, said a child born this year in Denmark is likely to live until the 22nd century.
According to the UNICEF expert, within Africa, only children delivered in Central African Republic, Chad and Sierra Leone have a lower life expectancy than those born in Nigeria.
She noted that while an estimated 25,685 babies were expected to be born in Nigeria on New Year’s Day, an average of 257 children who are still within their first month of life were equally expected to die every day in the country.
She attributed this situation to preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia, a violation of their basic right to survival.
While also quoting Pernille Ironside, UNICEF’s Acting Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Hinds said: “We can and must do more to ensure that children born in Nigeria survive their first day of life, and are able to survive and thrive for many months and years to come.
“In Nigeria today, only one out of every three babies is delivered in a health centre, decreasing a newborn baby’s chance of survival. This is just one of the issues that need to be addressed in order to improve the chances of survival of those babies born today and every day.
“This New Year Day, let’s all make a resolution to fulfill every right of every child, starting with the right to survive.
“We can save millions of babies if we invest in training and equipping local health workers so that every newborn is born into a safe pair of hands.”