Baku, May 3 (AZERTAC). A UN-sponsored report released Wednesday revealed fifteen million babies, or one in 10 babies around the world are born premature every year, and 1.1 million of those infants die.
Premature birth is the leading cause of death for newborn infants and is on the rise globally, said the report led by the March of Dimes, The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, Save the Children and the World Health Organization.
The study defined preterm birth as occurring before 37 weeks of pregnancy are complete. Typical pregnancies last 38-40 weeks.
Southern Asia leads the world with the highest preterm birth rate, with 13.3 percent of babies born early, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa at 12.3 percent, it said. Together, Africa and South Asia account for 60 percent of all preterm births.
The developed world`s overall preterm birth rate came in at 8.6 percent.
Malawi had the highest rate of early births of any of the 184 countries studied, with more than 18 percent, followed by Congo, Comoros and Zimbabwe.
Pakistan and Indonesia ranked eighth and ninth highest, while the lowest preterm birth rate was in Belarus at under five percent.
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