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The Ministry of Health informed that the country’s health service faced a formidable challenge with regards to dealing with stillbirths, adding that the majority of deaths among infants took place within a month of birth.

National Programme Manager – Maternal and Child Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance, Consultant Community Physician Dr. Kapila Jayaratne said that 70% of infant deaths occur in the first 28 days after birth and that they were termed ‘neonatal deaths’.

The Maternal and Child Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance Unit of the Family Health Bureau explained that a stillbirth was a death of a foetus after 28 weeks pregnancy. It was recently reported that the Minister of Health, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne speaking at the closing ceremony of a workshop for South Asian regional pediatricians organized by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund had stated that the country’s health service still had a formidable challenge with regard to how to deal with stillbirths.

When queried as to what the present situation in the country was with regard to stillbirths and what were the challenges faced in tackling this issue, Dr. Jayaratne noted that many of the neonatal deaths were due to prematurity, congenital abnormalities, sepsis and birth asphyxia.
(R LJ)