Millennium Development Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Target: Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate
Some 86 per cent of newborn deaths globally are the direct result of three main causes: severe infections – including sepsis/ pneumonia, tetanus and diarrhoea – asphyxia and preterm births. Severe infections are estimated to account for 36 per cent of all newborn deaths. They can occur at any point during the first month of life but are the main cause of neonatal death after the first week.
Clean delivery practices are clearly important in preventing infection, but maternal infections also need to be identified and treated during pregnancy. Infections in newborns require rapid identification and treatment as soon as possible following childbirth.
Source: Lawn, Joy E., Simon Cousens and Jelka Zupan, ‘4 million neonatal deaths; When? Where? Why?', The Lancet, vol. 365, no. 9462, 5 March 2005, p. 895.