The newborn health challenge faced by India is bigger than that experienced by any other country. As India makes progress in addressing childhood illnesses, reducing newborn deaths remains a critical challenge, making up a growing percentage of child deaths.
Today, India accounts for the greatest burden of newborn deaths in the world. An estimated 876,000 newborns die each year in India alone (2011 estimates) – accounting for an estimated 30% of the total global burden of neonatal deaths and and a staggering 53% of under-5 deaths in India.
In July 2011, the Government of India made a momentous decision that places the country at a crucial stage for saving the lives of millions of mothers and newborns. Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) will now receive an incentive payment to conduct routine home-based newborn care.
Why is this important? Promoting newborn care at home recognizes a body of evidence that has developed over the past 15 years - evidence which suggests that this new policy has the potential to make a game-changing impact on neonatal as well as maternal mortality.
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