Any child’s death is a tragedy. In South Asia, more than 60 per cent of deaths amongst children aged under five years occur in very first month of life. South Asia is not on-track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of reducing these newborn deaths to no more than 12 per 1000 live births by 2030. Children born to uneducated mothers in poor or rural families are the most vulnerable and face the highest mortality risk. .
70 per cent of newborn deaths are preventable with simple and inexpensive interventions. Preventing newborn deaths requires cooperation at all levels of society – from families and communities to health care workers and governments.
It is imperative that all countries in the region make a concerted effort to reduce newborn deaths. To ensure effective action, there is a need to improve the availability and quality of health data in South Asia, with a particular focus on newborn and adolescent health data. UNICEF supports countries in South Asia to develop child health action plans, which focus on improving the quality of care given to newborns and their mothers around the time of birth.