PART II - HEALTH CONDITIONS
9. MAIN HEALTH ISSUES AND TRENDS FOR DIFFERENT AGE AND GENDER POPULATION GROUPS
9.1. Newborns and perinatal health.
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More than five million babies are born yearly in the
European Union. Of these, an estimated 25 000 are stillborn and an additional
25 000 die within their first year (EUROSTAT Database); Among the survivors, an
additional 40 000 (approximately 8 per 1 000 survivors) experience severe
impairments, many of perinatal origin (Cans et al, 2003). Maternal deaths occur
less frequently - only 5 to 15 per 100 000 live births – but are associated
with substandard care in nearly half of the cases (see chapter 9.3.2).
This burden of death and illness is not distributed
throughout Europe: poverty and low social status are associated with
complications of the perinatal period, including pre-term birth, low birth
weight and perinatal death. Nevertheless, Europe faces common and
pressing challenges in perinatal health, namely: to maximise safety for mothers
and babies, improve the efficacy of medical technology and interventions,
reduce social inequalities in health and access to care, and use limited health
care resources effectively. Approaches to perinatal healthcare differ greatly
throughout Europe. Sharing knowledge about this diversity is essential and
provides an evidence base for assessing the efficacy of technology and medical
practices and improving the quality of care.