According to data from the World Health Organisation, Serbia has one of the highest perinatal mortality rates in Europe.
These data refer to 2019 and the rate of stillbirths in Serbia per 1,000 births is 4.4. Only Bulgaria (5) and Ukraine (4.5) have a higher rate. In Western Europe, this rate is about 2.2 and the exception is France, where this rate stands at 4.3 stillbirths per 1,000 births.
The WHO considers a death at birth to be a child older than 28 weeks whose death occurred before or during birth. Approximately two million such deaths occur every year, or one every 16 seconds. African countries currently have the highest stillbirth rates.
In recent years, there have been fewer stillbirths but the relevant numbers, although declining year on year, still remain high in Serbia.
Dr Georgios Konstantinidis, president of the Association of Paediatricians of Serbia, says that these figures are partly the result of poorly managed statistics that are not uniform throughout the country, which is why Serbia’s comparison with others in Europe does not reflect the real situation.
“If we consider stillbirths by region, Vojvodina, which in my opinion has the best perinatal care along with Belgrade, has such a high stillbirth rate whereby the total mortality exceeds the national average. This is a consequence of the fact that in Vojvodina we look at the 21st week of pregnancy as the upper limit (which is also the position of the world’s leading professional organisations), as well as consider foeticide numbers. In other regions, week 28 of pregnancy is seen as the time limit,’
Dr Konstantinidis adds that, when looking at mortality in the first week postpartum, for example, Novi Sad shows exceptional results and matches the countries with the best postnatal health care.
This post is also available in: Italiano