Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Newborn health

Today is World Prematurity Day

A preterm baby fed from a plastic cup by its mother.
WHO

17 November 2017 -- World Prematurity Day is an opportunity to call attention to the heavy burden of death and disability and the pain and suffering that preterm birth causes, as well as a chance to talk about solutions. This year the theme is "Let them thrive," focusing on quality, equity and dignity. On this day, WHO, UNICEF and PATH have released a policy statement on ensuring equitable access to human milk for all infants

Daily, 7000 newborns die, despite decrease in under-five mortality

Elizabeth Wezena with babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in the Upper East region of Ghana.
UNICEF

19 October 2017– Every day in 2016, 15 000 children died before their fifth birthday, 46% of them – or 7000 babies – died in the first 28 days of life. At current trends, 60 million children will die before their fifth birthday between 2017 and 2030, half of them newborns, according to the report released by UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank and the Population Division of UNDESA which make up the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation.

Babies and mothers worldwide failed by lack of investment in breastfeeding

african mother and daughter breastfeeding
UNICEF

1 August 2017 – No country in the world fully meets recommended standards for breastfeeding, according to a new report by UNICEF and WHO in collaboration with the Global Breastfeeding Collective, a new initiative to increase global breastfeeding rates. Only 40% of children younger than six months are breastfed exclusively (given nothing but breastmilk) and only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60%.

Reaching the every newborn national 2020 milestones: country progress, plans and moving forward

A mother smiles with her newborn.
Save the Children

June 2017 - This WHO and UNICEF report details the country leadership and actions that are taking forward the goals and recommendations set out in the Every Newborn Action Plan – an initiative contributing towards the goals of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health for Every Woman Every Child. In 2016, 51 countries completed the Every Newborn Tracking Tool, which tracks progress. This report presents the findings of the progress tracking tool, spotlights activities in a range of countries and exemplifies some of the partner efforts to support country progress.

A Network to halve maternal and newborn deaths in facilities in 5 years

Elizabeth Wezena with babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in the Upper East region of Ghana.
UNICEF

February 2017 -- Many women, their babies and children still die, or suffer from life-long disabilities, even after reaching a health facility, due to poor care practices. Improving the quality of care provided is of utmost urgency. With a target of halving maternal and newborn deaths in facilities in 5 years, national governments from 9 first wave countries and partners are joining forces to establish a Network to improve the quality of care provided to mothers, newborns and children. The Network will support countries to achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieve the vision set out by the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

Managing possible serious bacterial infection in young infants when referral is not feasible

A mother and her newborn child.
S Qazi

13 February 2017 -- Infections are responsible for about one fifth of the world’s annual 2.7 million neonatal deaths. In South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa about one quarter of all neonatal deaths are due to infections, Hospitalization and life-saving treatment for the sick infant may not be accessible, acceptable or affordable to families in settings with high newborn mortality. A new WHO/UNICEF Statement in support of 2015 WHO guidelines provides options for the use of simplified antibiotic regimens that are both safe and effective for outpatient treatment of clinical severe infection and fast-breathing pneumonia among young infants weighing at least 1.5 kg.

Counting and reviewing every birth and death is key to preventing future tragedies

A mother holds her baby.
WHO/Yoshi Shimizu

16 August 2016 -- Every day, women die during childbirth and babies are born stillborn. With quality health care throughout pregnancy and childbirth, many of these deaths could be prevented, but countries often lack the knowledge and capacity needed to take actions to stop other women and babies dying in the same way. To address this issue WHO is today launching two new tools to help countries improve their data on stillbirths and neonatal deaths as well as a report on the global status of implementation of maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR), a key strategy for reducing preventable maternal mortality.

Support mums to breastfeed anytime, anywhere

Cartoon showing a restaurant waiter offerign a drink to a breastfeeding woman.
WHO

The 1-5 August is World Breastfeeding Week. The theme this year is “Support mums to breastfeed anytime, anywhere,” as all of society has a role to play in making our communities more breastfeeding-friendly. One of the reasons for doing this is that, according to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake, "Breastfeeding is one of the most effective, and cost-effective ways to save and improve the lives of children everywhere, yielding lifelong health benefits for infants and their mothers."

World Prematurity Day

17 November 2014 -- WHO joined thousands of people worldwide in marking this year’s World Prematurity Day. Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm, which is defined as babies born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed. This is more than one in 10 babies – and these numbers are rising. The annual event, which takes place across the world, brings people together to raise awareness of the global problem of preterm birth, which is the leading cause of death globally in children under the age of five.