First 28 Days of Life
The first 28 days of life are the most fragile. Because newborns are especially delicate, many child deaths happen within the first 28 days of life. In 2007, out of 9.2 million infant deaths, 40 percent of the deaths were during the newborn stage.
Over half of child deaths occur during the newborn stage in developing countries, as most babies only live a few days after birth. Some of the main causes of early death are serious infections, prematurity, birth asphyxia (a condition arising when the body is deprived of oxygen, causing unconsciousness or death from suffocation) and congenital malformations.
Another major cause of early death is the health of the mother during pregnancy. Some specific examples that lead to early deaths in developing countries are a lack of attention to maternal health because they do not have care from proper skilled caretakers, the lack of knowledge about infant illnesses and the absence of proper birthing facilities.
A committee has been developed specifically for newborn health and development and aims to prevent newborn deaths. This committee is called Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths. The main partners involved in this community are WHO and UNICEF. Every Newborn (ENAP) is also working with governments who have recently made commitments to look into this issue and come up with solutions. ENAP works to develop solutions. Solutions range from a wide variety of aid to end preventable deaths in newborns and mothers. The committee claims they have the knowledge, power and skills to prevent two-thirds of newborn deaths.
ENAP’s mission is “a vision of a world in which there are no preventable deaths of newborns or stillbirths, where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth celebrated, and women, babies and children survive, thrive and reach their full potential.”
– Priscilla Rodarte
Sources: Every Newborn, Healthy Newborn Network, WHO 1, WHO 2 UNICEF
Photo: GW Hospital