Fiji Time: 6:43 AM on Wednesday 17 January

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Fiji welcomes 2018's first baby

Monday, January 01, 2018

Update: 6:13PM THE 2018's first baby - a girl - was born at 1.44am on New Year's Day in Suva.

Joana Sovocala, in her late 30s, gave birth to her seventh child at Suva's CWM hospital. 

The New Year baby, who weighs 3.3kg, is named Vilisi Ciri Sovocala. 

Born without complications after 6 hours of labour, both mother and baby are healthy and doing well, the UNICEF reported today.

Immeditaely after birth, Joana hugged and breastfed her baby to reduce any chances of infection. 

UNICEF says delaying breastfeeding by 2-23 hours after birth can increase the risk of a newborn dying by more than 40 per cent.

UNICEF's estimates show that 47 babies will be born in Fiji on New Year's Day. 

The Fijian baby will join nearly 386,000 children to be born worldwide on New Year's Day, including about 770 babies across the Pacific Islands. 

UNICEF says while many of these babies will survive, some will not make it past their first day. 

In 2016, an estimated 2600 children died globally within the first 24 hours every day of the year. 

And of every 1000 babies born in Fiji, nine children died in the first month.

In all, 2.6million children died before the end of their first month in 2016. 

Among those, more than 80 per cent of all newborn deaths are attributed to preventable and treatable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia.  In February, UNICEF will launch a new global campaign demanding affordable, quality health care for every mother and newborn.

Read mother Joana's full interview in tomorrow's (January 2, 2018) edition of The Fiji Times.

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