From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has predicted that no fewer than 21,439 new babies would be born in Nigeria on new year day.
Globally, UNICEF said that estimated 371,504 babies, would be born on the new year’s day and Nigerian babies will account for nearly six per cent of the figure.
It said that 59,995 new babies would be born in India, China 35,615, Pakistan 14,161, Indonesia 12,336, Ethiopia 12,006, United States 10,312, Egypt 9,455 and Bangladesh 9,236 new babies.
UNICEF said that only one in every eight babies born will make it to their fifth birthday, while those who survive will face other challenges as young Nigerians, especially girls.
It also estimated that one in every four Nigerian girls will experience sexual violence, if nothing is done to reverse the trend and stop violence against women and girls.
Acting UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Renu Wadhwa, in a statement disclosed that more than 14 million Nigerian children are chronically malnourished and 2.7 million are acutely malnourished.
He stressed that cross-sectoral solutions to strengthen the health, food, water, sanitation and social protection systems can reverse the high numbers and keep children alive.
“As much as 43 per cent of Nigerian children do not receive all their recommended vaccinations at the right time, a critical step towards ensuring survival and good health.
“Birth registration of Nigerian children under one year is still only 4.0 per cent and 54 per cent for children under 5 years.”
He maintained that achieving universal birth registration is an important platform for allowing children to access health care and other critical services throughout their lives.