With almost 386,000 babies expected to be born on the first day of 2018, UNICEF has urged the world to do more to ensure they survive their first days of life.

While many of the babies will survive, the UN Children's Fund noted that during 2016 an estimated 2,600 children died within 24 hours of their birth every day while for almost two million, their first week was also their last.

In total, more than 2.6 million children died before they were a month old in 2016, more than 80 per cent from preventable and treatable causes including premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia.

Stefan Peterson, UNICEF's chief of health, on Monday called for governments and partner organisations to "join the fight to save millions of childrens' lives by providing proven, low-cost solutions".

“This New Year, UNICEF's resolution is to help give every child more than an hour, more than a day, more than a month – more than survival," he said.

UNICEF says that despite the "unprecedented" progress made in terms of child survival in the last 20 years - with the number of children dying before their fifth birthday halving to 5.6 million, the progress in saving newborns has been slower with deaths of babies less than a month old accounting for 46 per cent of all deaths among children under five.

“We are now entering the era when all the world's newborns should have the opportunity to see the 22nd century,” said Mr Peterson, adding that despite this expectation, almost half born this year would not. “A child born in Sweden in January 2018 is most likely to live to 2100, while a child from Somalia would be unlikely to live beyond 2075."

The Pacific Island nation of Kiribati was expected to be the location for the first child born in 2018. The greatest number of births on New Year's Day was expected to take place in India - 69,070 - followed by China - 44,760, and Nigeria - 20,210.