Pakistan is the most dangerous place in Asia to be born: Report

Published: May 8, 2013
The report stressed on the need for investment in health workers, particularly those working in the field, to enable them to reach out to vulnerable mothers and babies. PHOTO: FILE

The report stressed on the need for investment in health workers, particularly those working in the field, to enable them to reach out to vulnerable mothers and babies. PHOTO: FILE


Pakistan has the highest first-day infant mortality rate — one in 77 babies — in Asia, accounting for 17 per cent of all under-five deaths in the country,  and making it the most dangerous place in the region to be born, according to a report titled, “Surviving the First Day: State of the World’s Mothers 2013.”

The report was launched on Tuesday at a ceremony at Ramada Hotel by Save the Children.

Save the Children Director Health and Nutrition Dr Qudsia Uzma said the 0.9 per cent annual decrease in infant mortality in the country was lower than the global average of 2.1 per cent.

The report contains the first ever Birth Day Risk Index, which documents the death rates for babies in their first day of life in 186 countries. Findings reveal that around 60,000 of Pakistani babies died within the first day of life, accounting for 30 per cent of all newborn deaths.

According to the report, the reasons behind these statistics include a high rate of pre-term and underweight births, at 16 and 32 per cent respectively, mothers’ poor nutritional status, and a lack of family planning. The country also had the highest number of stillborn babies in the region, at 1-in-23.

The report stressed on the need for investment in health workers, particularly those working in the field, to enable them to reach out to vulnerable mothers and babies.

It also called for investments in low-cost, low-tech solutions to deal with fatal situations both pre- and post-pregnancy.

Federal and provincial governments should take responsibility for the recruitment, training, and support of health workers, while increasing funding for direct nutrition interventions, said the report. Uzma said more than a million children’s lives could be saved each year by improving breastfeeding practices and basic hygiene.

TheNetwork for Consumer Protection’s Rubina Bhatti responded by arguing that female employees were not entitled to maternity leave for more than three months, due to which they were not able to fulfil their breastfeeding duties.

The Protection of Breastfeeding and Young Child Nutrition Ordinance 2002 has been implemented but not enforced in many regions across the country, she said.

“The infant mortality rate is unacceptably high. Around 1 in 28 babies do not live past their first birthday, making Pakistan one of 10 countries that account for nearly two-thirds of the three million new born deaths recorded globally per year,” said Save the Children Pakistan Country Director David Skinner.

The Every One Campaign ambassador Haroon Rashid after providing a brief overview of the campaign’s initiative, said the country was ranked 139th on the list of best places to be a mother, coming in ahead of neighbours India and Afghanistan but lagging behind Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Rashid said the ranking was based on factors such as a mother’s health, education and economic status, and critical child indicators such as nutrition.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Hussain
    May 8, 2013 - 10:10AM

    Totally fake survey, look in india where 20000 babies are aborted (if female) before they are born or kill afterwords.

    Also health conditions are not much poor in there than Pakistan.


  • Mohammad
    May 8, 2013 - 10:14AM

    This is very very sad indeed… Pakistan has to put strong efforts for welfare of women’s health, their nutrition during pregnancy and birth centers all over the country.


  • Nasir
    May 8, 2013 - 10:32AM

    This shows the failure of your government.


  • vasan
    May 8, 2013 - 10:49AM

    Hussain : Feel happy that you are better than India, But is it enough while babies are dying.??


  • Pak
    May 8, 2013 - 11:02AM

    In the next few days you have the opporunity to change things drastically.



    May 8, 2013 - 11:05AM

    An eye opening stats, VOTE PTI for Change.


  • Excellence
    May 8, 2013 - 11:07AM

    Democracy is the best revenge. Nice job PPP and allies! FIVE MORE YEARS ! And Noora you should keep building roads. Also make most of them in Lahore. That is the only way health and education can improve in this country !


  • Mujtaba
    May 8, 2013 - 11:07AM

    Not saying that conditions in Pakistan aren’t bad….but really hard to believe that its the worst in Asia….I mean Asia has Afghanistan, Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh and even India (MIGHT not be as bad as Pakistan BUT I am sure that more babies die there than Pakistan simply because more are born there compared to Pakistan)…..I really question the


  • gp65
    May 8, 2013 - 11:08AM

    @Hussain: This is not a survey. It is based on actual statistics.
    In any event no patriotic Indian is going to justify female foeticide in India. But also, we will not deny it happens because a problem cannot be solved unless you acknowledge it.It is a bad practice against which there already are laws and now awareness is being created to stop such behavior. In India we do not take solace from the fact that in China due to the one child policy, the sex ratio is even more distorted than India. We are concerned with problems in India not be complacent because it is worse elsewhere.

    If you want to ignore the problem of high infant mortality in Pakistan because ‘it does not look god’, know that you are not serving your own brethren well.


  • khan
    May 8, 2013 - 11:19AM

    thats IK’s priorities are education, health etc not bullet train, motorway..


  • gp65
    May 8, 2013 - 11:24AM

    @Mujtaba: Infant mortality rate (IMR) in Pakistan is 70 per thousand live births. In other words 70 kids who are born alive (excludes abortions and still births) die before their first birthday. In India it is 44 per thousand life births. The statistics in Nepal and Bangladesh are very similar to that of India.

    You are correct however that Afghanistan is much worse off than Pakistan when it comes to IMR. Perhaps this article limited itself to the kids dying within 24 hours where Afghanistan may not even have such granular records to be able to compare? I am guessing though I di not know.


  • May 8, 2013 - 12:38PM

    Health issues have always been a problem for Pakistan, People are demanding for the proper clinics, health centers and hospitals. While some services like Edhi and Chippa are doing great job, They also need to work on saving the new born child and keeping them healthy because they are the future and we need to secure that


  • Kay
    May 8, 2013 - 12:52PM

    @ Khan: Producing more babies (particularly) in pakistan means more poverty. Produce less ( and useful humans) so that everyone can enjoy modern facilities like bullet trains and motorways etc.


  • True Indian
    May 8, 2013 - 1:07PM

    This report is fake coz yesterday only Pak govt issued travel advisory notice to all Pak tourist against travelling to India…..


  • sohaib
    May 8, 2013 - 1:10PM

    So afghanistan is not in Asia……….ic!


  • Indian Wisdom
    May 8, 2013 - 2:17PM

    Hussain : Feel happy that you are better than India, But is it enough while babies are dying.??”

    In fact both India and Pakistan are neck to neck in competition, Pakistan tops in highest IMR and India tops in the absolute number of Infant deaths:(


  • Azeez
    May 8, 2013 - 3:40PM

    @Hussain: don’t compare India with you we are 121crore you are only 18crore


  • joy
    May 8, 2013 - 3:49PM

    @ gp65: your comments are always balanced, well thought out, rational and logical. I do hope that they have the impact that they deserve..


  • Asif Butt
    May 8, 2013 - 5:14PM

    What about Afghanistan ?

    Palestine/Gaza ?

    Iraq ?

    Of-course Pakistan is the LATEST VICTIMN of global cold wars , so it must also have some ranking in this list.

    But these NGOs/Organization just want to brainwash us into believing all this.


  • Pakistani Ostrich
    May 8, 2013 - 5:34PM

    What is even more sad is, if the infant does survive, his chances of being blown up or shot by some gang war cross-fire is even highest(probably) in the world! Like the shakespeare would have said “to be born or not to be born is the question” in regards to pakistan. Only manufacturing we have in pakistan is making babies! We need to control population or in the next 10-15 years, it will be somalia and anarchy.


  • Awais
    May 8, 2013 - 6:55PM

    Proud to be born in the so-called most dangerous place in Asia.


  • gp65
    May 8, 2013 - 9:28PM

    @joy: Thank you for your kind words.


  • Rabia
    May 9, 2013 - 8:39AM

    Misleading title of article…..Firstlt it should say “in Asia”….. Secondly I doubt if we are behind Afghanistan and conflict ridden Arab countries. Nothing to be proud of, but facts should be presented accurately.


  • Gp65
    May 9, 2013 - 9:26AM

    Here is the URL
    Go to the table called birth day risk index. It lists the risky countries in order. You will notice that Pakistan is indeed the riskiest in Asia as far a the first day of birth is concerned though if you look at number of kids that survive upto their 5 th birthday, then Pakistan is better than Afghanistan.

    Of course India does not have much bragging rights either but from what I could see in the report just this year India has revamped its policies in this area. Hope that these modified policies give the results.

    Hope this information helps.


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