The World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease study has found that every year more than 2.4 million babies die as a result of the risk of neonatal mortality, and that 1 in 10 babies born in developing countries will die before they reach a birthday, compared with 1 in 11 in developed countries.
The study also found that infant mortality is more likely in the developed world than in developing nations.
But the World Health Organisation says the number of premature deaths due to congenital malformations is not known.
The number of neonatally premature deaths has risen over the past five years in developing-world countries, but has not risen in developed-world nations, the agency said.
It said the World Bank’s data shows that the proportion of premature neonatal deaths in developed nations has risen to 4 per cent in the past four years.
The World Bank said the rising number of newborn deaths in developing economies should be a wake-up call to governments and health systems to do more to protect newborns and babies.
The United Nations says the rise in the number dying in the developing world is linked to the rapid economic development of developing countries, which have been working together to address health and economic challenges.
More than 200 developing countries signed up to the Global Biodefense Initiative in November, which aims to reduce the number and severity of deaths due a lack of health care, nutrition, sanitation and housing.
The initiative aims to prevent premature deaths by 2025.
The WHO study said the number who were alive at the end of 2020 had increased from 1.3 million to 2.3 billion.