Wakeup Call: Is Pakistan Ready for the Stillbirths Count Down 2030?

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Abstract

Worldwide, around 2 million births annually ended in stillbirths (1). Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are sharing 80% of the burden, with 44% of events being contributed by only six countries i.e., India, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, China, and Ethiopia (1). Considering the public health burden of significance, even now stillbirths are the most neglected in country-level attention and low priority is given to mitigate the risk factors of stillbirths. (2)

The consequence of stillbirth is huge, both systemwide as well at the level of the household. The impact is grossly linked with both economic broadly and psychological and physical well-being at the individual level (3). Furthermore, at the individual level, the social and cultural taboo attached with stillbirth as an outcome is severe and hinders correct reporting at the country level (3). The problem of under or misreporting is grossly an issue in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs); socio-cultural barriers are most prevalent in these countries (3).

Nearly 40% of stillbirths are attributable to preventable causes, usually happening during the intrapartum period, which can easily be averted through better health interventions and quality of care (1). Further, the rest of the leading causes are pertaining to antepartum complications (1) The distribution of causes of stillbirths are continuing to remain stagnant since last few years, and remedial interventions so far at the country level are not on track to gain the reduction in stillbirth rates as per criteria for the count down 2030 (4-5).

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https://doi.org/10.47391/JPMA.5693