Egypt aims to halve infant mortality by 2018
A nurse feeds a premature baby inside an incubator at an Egyptian public hospital in the province of Sharkia, northeast of Cairo, June 10, 2008. REUTERS/Nasser Nuri

CAIRO: “Our Dream and We’ll Achieve It” Project has been launched by the Ministry of Health aiming to reduce the number of deaths among newborns in 2018 by 50 percent, Youm7 reported Sunday.

Around 14,000 babies in Egypt die annually in their first month of life, Abla Ahmed, the executive manager of the project, said during a Sunday press conference.

In 2014, some 2.7 million live births took place in Egypt with an increase 3.8 percent compared to 2.6 million in 2013, according to an August report by Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS.)

“Reducing newborn deaths represents a priority to achieve sustainable professional development,” added Ahmed, noting that the project has a timeline of three years from January 2016 to 2018.

The project originally targets the development of child health services at hospitals and medical centers across the country. It has been launched in coordination between the health ministry and the Egyptian members’ Association (EMA) of United Kingdom’s Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health.

Mourad Alfy, head of supreme committee in the project, announced that a plan set by the Health Ministry includes: medical awareness, raising efficiency of doctors, developing of neonatal-perinatal medicine, reducing the rate of caesarean delivery, and instead encourage natural childbirth and breastfeeding.

According to a 2015 UNICEF report titles “Children in Egypt: A statistical digest,” around 91.5 percent of births in 2014 were attended by skilled health personnel, like: doctors or trained nurses. The report also showed that 86.7 percent of births in the same year took place at a health facility, while 13.2 percent occurred at home.

Some 51.8 percent of births in 2014 were delivered by Caesarean section, in comparison to only 19.9 percent in 2005.

Additional reporting by Waleed Abdel Salam and Nourhan Magdi

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