INITIATION OF BREASTFEEDING WITHIN ONE HOUR OF BIRTH IS CRITICAL FOR NEWBORN HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Percentage of women aged 15-49 who breastfed their infants within the first hour after birth (1990-2006)
World Fit for Children target: Special emphasis must be placed on prenatal and postnatal care, essential obstetric care and care for newborns, particularly for those living in areas without access to services
Each year, around 4 million children die within the first 28 days of life – the newborn (neonatal) period. Given that these newborn deaths account for 37 per cent of all under-five deaths, improving neonatal survival is essential if MDG 4 – reduce child mortality – is to be reached.
Reducing neonatal deaths requires improving women’s health during pregnancy, providing appropriate care for both mother and newborn during and immediately after birth, and caring for the baby during the first weeks of life. Cost-effective, feasible interventions include initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth, ensuring proper cord care, keeping the baby warm, recognizing danger signs and seeking care, and giving special care to infants with low birthweight. A continuum of care from pregnancy to early childhood should link community-based programmes to strengthened health systems.
Efforts to develop a core set of indicators to monitor newborn care interventions are under way. But more work is needed to finalize these indicators for inclusion in household surveys.
Note: Coverage of many interventions to improve neonatal survival is analysed elsewhere in this statistical review. For nutritional interventions such as exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life; for interventions during pregnancy and childbirth; for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
COVERAGE OF KEY NEONATAL SURVIVAL INTERVENTIONS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
EACH YEAR, AROUND 4 MILLION NEWBORNS PERISH IN THE FIRST 28 DAYS OF LIFE
Global distribution of neonatal deaths by cause (2000)
NEWBORNS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES ARE EIGHT TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE THAN NEWBORNS IN INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES
Neonatal mortality rate (per 1,000 live births), by region (2000)
FEW NEWBORNS RECEIVE POSTNATAL CARE IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
Proportion of women who gave birth outside a health facility and received postnatal check-ups for their newborns within three days of birth (1999-2005)
KEY INTERVENTIONS FOR REDUCING NEONATAL MORTALITY AND MORBIDITY
Source for figures on this page: UNICEF global databases, 2007. Global distribution of neonatal deaths by cause: Lawn, Joy E., Simon Cousens and Jelka Zupans, ‘4 million neonatal deaths: When? Where? Why?‘ The Lancet, vol. 365, no. 9462, 3 March 2005, pp. 891-900. Key interventions: Darmstadt, G.L., et al., ‘Evidence-based, cost-effective interventions: How many newborns can we save?‘ The Lancet, vol. 365, no. 9463, 12 March 2005, pp. 977-988.