An estimated 740 babies will be born in the Pacific islands on New Year’s Day, UNICEF said today, with one of the first
babies in the world born at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva, Fiji, between 12 – 12.01am to proud mother
Losena Adi Bale.
In cities around the world, revelers will welcome not only the New Year with great festivities but also their newest and
tiniest residents. As the clock strikes midnight, Sydney will greet an estimated 168 babies, followed by 310 in Tokyo,
605 in Beijing, 166 in Madrid and finally, 317 in New York.
Fiji in the Pacific will most likely deliver 2019’s first baby; the United States, its last. Globally, over half of
these births are estimated to take place in eight countries:
1. India — 69,944
2. China — 44,940
3. Nigeria — 25,685
4. Pakistan — 15,112
5. Indonesia — 13,256
6. The United States — 11086
7. The Democratic Republic of Congo — 10,053
8. Bangladesh — 8,428
In the Pacific, estimated births on New Year’s Day include:
• Fiji -35
• Federated States of Micronesia – 7
• Kiribati - 9
• Papua New Guinea – 607
• Samoa – 13
• Solomon Islands – 46
• Tonga – 6
• Vanuatu - 19
Around the world on January 1, families will welcome countless new family members. But in several countries, many babies
will not even be named as they won’t make it past their first day.
In 2017, about 1 million babies died the day they were born, and 2.5 million in just their first month of life. Among
those children, most died from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections
like sepsis and pneumonia, a violation of their basic right to survival.
“This New Year Day, let’s all make a resolution to fulfill every right of every child, starting with the right to
survive,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Pacific Representative. “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.”
2019 also marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
, which UNICEF will be commemorating with worldwide events throughout the year. Under the convention, governments
committed to, among other things, taking measures to save every child by providing good quality health care.
Over the past three decades, the world has seen remarkable progress in child survival, cutting the number of children
worldwide who die before their fifth birthday by more than half. But there has been slower progress for newborns. Babies
dying in the first month account for 47 per cent of all deaths among children under five.
UNICEF’s Every Child Alive campaign
calls for immediate investment to deliver affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and newborn. These
include a steady supply of clean water and electricity at health facilities, the presence of a skilled health attendant
during birth, ample supplies and medicines to prevent and treat complications during pregnancy, delivery and birth, and
empowered adolescent girls and women who can demand better quality of health services.
“Thirty years after world leaders committed to preserving children’s rights, we’re still losing newborns because of who
they are or where they are from, Mr. Yett said. “This year, we should renew our efforts to give every baby in the
Pacific islands a chance to survive, to laugh, to cry, to play, to grow – to have a name and to have life.”