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Better Care Sought To Cut Infant Deaths

More than 8 million babies worldwide die each year before reaching their first birthday, mostly from disease or inadequate care in the first weeks of life, a U.N. agency said Monday.

A new World Health Organization study says this toll could be drastically lowered with better clinical health care for mother and infant.

Some 98 percent of baby deaths occur in developing countries, where 57 infants per 1,000 births are born dead or die within the first week of life, the agency said. The highest rates are in Africa, followed by south-central Asian countries.

In developed countries, the average rate is 11 per 1,000 live births. It is slightly better in the United States: 10 per 1,000 live births.

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