More babies are dying each year in West and Central Africa even as child health improves overall, aid agencies said, calling the region’s newborn death rate a “hidden tragedy.”

One in 16 pregnancies in the region results in stillbirth or death within a month — mostly preventable deaths caused by premature birth, labor complications or infection, UNICEF said. Additionally, only one in two women in the region gives birth in a health facility, often because clinics are few and far between and they cannot afford to travel, according to UNICEF.

While the number of deaths among children under the age of five globally has more than halved in the last 25 years, progress in ending deaths of children less than one month old has been much slower, said Henrietta Fore, the new UNICEF chief.

“Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly, we are failing the world’s poorest babies,” she said.

Read the full article about newborn health at VOA.