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Improved Care Could Save 600,000 Babies Each Year: Study

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About 600,000 of the two million babies who die worldwide each year could be saved by improving health care for women giving birth in poor countries, a new study says.

About 99 percent of baby deaths occur in poor homes in areas of Africa and South Asia where there are few doctors, resources or medical equipment, said the study. It found that 1.02 million babies a year are stillborn during labor and about 904,000 die soon after birth due to birth complications, Agence France Presse reported.

Only about one million of nearly eight million physicians worldwide work in countries where 77 percent of childbirth deaths occur, and the majority of those one million doctors work in urban areas, the news service said.

The researchers also found that only about 20 percent of babies born in African hospitals are delivered by staff with the skills and equipment needed to resuscitate babies if they don't breathe at birth, AFP reported.

The study, published in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, was released at an international conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

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