Investments Needed To Implement Interventions To Save Newborn Lives

“Each year, three million newborns die, making up 43 percent of the world’s under-five child deaths,” Joy Lawn, director of global evidence and policy for Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives, writes in an Inter Press Service opinion piece. “The moments before, during and immediately after labor are critical for the survival of both mother and baby,” she adds. “Almost all these babies’ deaths stem from preventable causes: prematurity, birth complications and infections,” Lawn notes, adding, “Highly cost-effective solutions to these conditions have already been developed.” Though “[m]idwives and frontline workers are saving lives every day, … they would benefit greatly from access to basic tools and supplies,” she adds.

“A decade ago we lacked data, and timely interventions were too complex … [but n]ow we have no excuse — the data are clear and the solutions are doable,” Lawn writes. “In mid-April, many of the world’s leading newborn health experts will come together in Johannesburg to focus on one of the world’s most solvable but neglected health issues, and lay the groundwork for a Global Newborn Action Plan, linked to national roadmaps,” she notes. “The development of a global action plan is proof that leaders are prepared to commit and hold themselves accountable to new targets to end preventable newborn deaths,” she continues, adding, “But leaders need support in the form of national data, reliable evidence and experienced advice to make context specific choices to accelerate change for their newborns and to build sustainable health care systems: in short, they require investments” from national governments and donors (4/8).