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Newborn Mortality Rate

What does it mean ?

Newborn (or neonatal) mortality rate refers to the number of deaths of newborn babies(neonates) that occur between birth and the first completed 28 days of life. It is measured as the number of deaths in the first 28 days per every 1000 live births in a given year or period. A live birth refers to any baby that is born that shows signs of life outside of the womb.

Why does it matter ?

The majority of child deaths occur in the first month of life. The newborn mortality rate provides us with a general measure of the health environment during the earliest stages of life. It is a useful indicator of the quality of care at birth in a country. Reducing newborn mortality globally forms part of Sustainable Development Goal 3.2, to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age.

How is it collected ?

If a country has a full birth and death registration system, then calculating Newborn (or Neonatal) Mortality Rates (NMR) is simple as all births and deaths are recorded. Where registration systems are incomplete, information on the births and deaths of babies are obtained from household surveys where women are asked about every baby they have given birth to and how long the child survived or population censuses. To calculate the mortality estimate, the data from these sources are analysed statistically using a particular model designed by the UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation.

NMR 2018 - World Bank. 2020. Mortality rate, neonatal (per 1,000 live births). [Accessed 9 March 2020]