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ISLAMABAD, Jan 6 (APP):The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was providing assistance to Pakistan government in reduction of new born mortality from 55 deaths per 1,000 live births to 42 deaths per 1,000 live births during the last five years.

Over last couple of years 38 sick new born care units have been strengthened across Pakistan with UNICEF support. The most vulnerable newborns are those in marginalized groups, rural areas, urban slum environments and humanitarian settings, said UNICEF report issued here.

High quality, affordable care (Universal Health Care) before, during and after childbirth for all women and babies can prevent many maternal and newborn deaths. Good hygiene care can also help prevent multiple infections while early initiation of breast feeding within the first hour can particularly help prevent deaths, the report said.

UNICEF emphasized that the reduction in premature births and newborn deaths can be achieved by strengthening health policies and services with focus on maternal nutrition and improving access and care for mothers and newborns, it added.

UNICEF Pakistan is supporting 12 facilities across the country for Maternal and New born Survival (Three in Punjab, Three in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Two in Sindh, one in Baluchistan, one in AJK, one in GB and one in ICT).

These centres of excellence were being strengthened to practice and promote implementation of interventions critical for maternal and newborn survival including Essential Newborn Care, Use of Chlorhexidine for Umbilical Cord Care, Kangaroo Mother Care and care of the very small and sick new born babies.