In Focus: A healthy start in life for every child

Ensuring the survival and health of newborns in Europe and Central Asia

A mother and her newborn in the hospital of Daroot Korgon in Kyrgyzstan, that was entirely rehabilitated by UNICEF.


The very first moments of life can be the most dangerous for a child. Newborns are fragile, and vulnerable to multiple risks associated with pregnancy and birth, as well as those created by inadequate post-natal care.

The Europe and Central Asia Region has exceeded global progress in reducing the rate of children dying before their fifth birthday. But that progress has masked an alarming fact: In the Region, almost 85 percent of under-five child deaths occur in the first year of life, and 50 percent of those, during the first month.

UNICEF works to accelerate progress on the survival and healthy development of newborns across the Region, with particular focus on the Central Asia and the Caucasus countries where neonatal mortality rates (deaths within the first month of life) are twice as high as in Central and Eastern Europe. To ensure that every mother and newborn child get the care they need, UNICEF is working with governments and other partners to implement the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP). This government-led plan provides guidance for countries, and sets out their accountabilities for identifying and addressing the main gaps in newborn survival and development.

In focus report cover - health
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