20 Nov 2013

Unicef concerned about premature births in Pacific

3:09 pm on 20 November 2013

Unicef says the leading cause of death for babies in the Pacific is premature birth but low-cost measures could drastically reduce the danger.

The child protection group says research just released shows the percentage of premature or pre-term deaths is increasing in the Pacific.

Its Pacific representative, Dr Karen Allen, says teaching healthcare workers correct resuscitation techniques and how to prevent infections are just some of the ways to increase newborn survival rates.

"All of the countries in the Pacific need to do more on neo-natal mortality and pre-term birth but we are particularly worried about Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu."

Dr Karen Allen says Pacific governments are already starting to take action by making a pledge to combat child mortality.

Unicef says in 2012 an estimated 660 babies in the Pacific region died within the first 28 days of life.