Dhaka, 20 February 2018: UNICEF today is launching Every Child ALIVE, a global campaign to demand and deliver solutions on behalf of the world’s newborns, that will boost the Bangladesh National Newborn Campaign, launched back in November 2017. Through the campaign, UNICEF is issuing an urgent appeal to government, health care providers, donors, the private sector, families and businesses to keep every child alive. Bangladesh joins this global call to contain all preventable child and neonatal deaths by 2030.
The campaign, aims to build consensus on the principle that every mother and every baby deserves affordable, quality care. It will support UNICEF and partners to realize the promise of Place; People: recruiting, training, retaining and managing sufficient doctors, nurses and midwives with expertise in maternal and newborn care at all levels of the health system; Products: guaranteeing clean, functional health facilities equipped with water, soap, electricity, life-saving drugs and equipment within the reach of every mother and baby; and Power: empowering adolescent girls, mothers and families to demand and receive quality care.
“No baby should die of preventable causes, and we need to extend affordable, quality health care to every mother and baby. Through this campaign UNICEF aims to mobilize public support to influence policy change, fund solutions and engage with individuals, businesses and policy-makers to make this happen.” says Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Bangladesh representative.
The global campaign will focus on 10 countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan and the United Republic of Tanzania. Together, these countries account for more than half of the world’s newborn deaths.
As for Bangladesh, the country achieved MDG4 and made commendable progress in neonatal mortality. In 1990, 241,000 newborns were dying and in 2016 that was reduced to 62,000. Despite well-performing public health programmes, Bangladesh is still among the 10 countries with the highest number of newborn deaths in 2016, and 88 per cent of neonatal deaths in Bangladesh are from three preventable causes. In addition to the newborn deaths, 83,000 still births happen every year.
A global report on newborn mortality launched today also reaffirms this trend. Globally, deaths of newborn babies remain alarmingly high, particularly among the world’s poorest countries, highlights the report. In low-income countries, the average newborn mortality rate is 27 deaths per 1,000 births. In high-income countries, that rate is 3 deaths per 1,000. Newborns from the riskiest places to give birth are up to 50 times more likely to die than those from the safest places.
These deaths can be prevented with access to well-trained midwives, proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact and good nutrition.
In Bangladesh, the National Newborn Campaign was launched in November 2017 that promotes affordable interventions at community and household level for essential newborn care for all newborns. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) is working on prioritizing effective interventions for maternal and newborn health, with support of UNICEF, and other partners.
To this extent, MoFHW has introduced the Special Newborn Care Units (SCANUs) in 44 districts of Bangladesh for the sick newborn, providing specialized care for sick newborns in public hospitals. In coming years, these SCANUs will be expanded in the remaining 20 districts. The Alive Campaign will look to fast track this goal.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.