We are failing the world’s youngest citizens. Although the world has made dramatic progress in reducing global rates of under-five child mortality, newborn deaths have declined at a slower pace.

A child’s birth and the 28 days that follow are the most dangerous period of her life. Almost half of all under-five children who died in 2016 were newborns.

These children are not dying because we don’t have the tools to save them. More than 80 per cent of all newborn deaths are caused by three preventable and treatable conditions: complications due to prematurity or during delivery, and infections like sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia.

But treatment and interventions are not reaching the mothers and children who need them most – the families who live in the most disadvantaged areas, enduring the harshest conditions.

No parents should experience the heartbreak of watching their child suffer or die.

The world can and must do better.

Help save newborn lives

We can end preventable newborn and child deaths in our lifetime – but we need more than a single drug or intervention. We need governments, health-care workers, communities and families to come together to provide affordable, quality health care for every mother and baby, starting with the most vulnerable.

UNICEF is calling for universal health coverage, starting with four main pillars:


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UNICEF impact

UNICEF helps save newborn lives by connecting women and babies with vital resources like skilled birth attendants and pre- and postnatal care. See the impact of our work through the children and mothers we’ve helped along the way:

Learn more

Get the latest research and data on child and newborn mortality from UNICEF and our partners:

A woman cradles a newborn baby

Take action

We believe that a future where every child is born to thrive is not only possible, but necessary. Together with you, we will work to make this a reality.