Les bébés inconnus

Chaque année, quatre millions de bébés meurent avant d'atteindre quatre semaines de vie, soit plus de 10 000 par jour. La plupart de ces décès néonatals ne sont pas enregistrés et restent inconnus de tous à part de leurs familles. Pratiquement tous (99%) surviennent dans des pays à faibles ou moyens revenus, alors que la recherche et les financements se concentrent surtout sur les soins de pointe consacrés au 1% de décès enregistrés dans les pays riches.

Le plus grand risque de mortalité existe au début de la vie : les trois-quarts de tous les décès néonatals (trois millions) surviennent dans la première semaine de vie, et au moins un million de bébés meurent le jour de leur naissance, nombre d'entre eux à la maison, faute de soins qualifiés. En outre, presque 40% de tous les décès de bébés arrivent dans la période néonatale, l'Afrique et l'Asie du Sud comptant pour deux-tiers du total.

Les programmes de survie infantile dans les pays en voie de développement concernent avant tout la pneumonie, la diarrhée, le paludisme et les maladies évitables grâce à la vaccination après le premier mois de vie, et les programmes de maternité sans danger s'adressent en priorité aux mères. La prévention des décès des nouveau-nés est donc tombée dans une faille, entre les programmes adressés aux mères et ceux qui concernent les enfants plus âgés.

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