Johannesburg, South Africa
Many of the world’s leading health experts will gathered for a global meeting in South Africa to bring attention to one of the world’s biggest health issues: nearly 3 million newborns dying worldwide from preventable and treatable causes.
The world has made progress in reducing newborn mortality, and to maintain this momentum, the US Government, through its flagship Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP); Save the Children; UNICEF; and partners convened the ‘Global Newborn Health Conference’ April 15-18, 2013, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The conference brought together researchers, policy-makers, health professionals and advocates from over 30 countries to review the progress that has been made towards reducing newborn deaths and assess what can be done to address this challenge in countries where the need is greatest.
The conference came at a critical moment to accelerate progress in newborn survival by galvanizing efforts to mobilize governments, donors, local partners and communities to make reducing newborn deaths a top priority. The 4-day meeting set the stage for informing the global community about what it takes to bring life-saving newborn care to scale.
Countries where political leadership has acted on strong scientific evidence in improving newborn survival will be highlighted, laying the groundwork for countries to develop their own newborn action plans that will serve as a roadmap for saving newborn lives.
The first global summit on newborns represents the “ringing of the start bell” for a comprehensive Every Newborn Action Plan now in development. The Every Newborn Action Plan will be carried out through the coordinated actions of a broad set of contributors, including governments, donors, the UN, civil society, private business and health professionals, supporting the broader goals of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and the Every Woman Every Child movement led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. It will also put into action key targets and strategic shifts introduced by the Promise Renewed movement for child survival, now supported by over 50 countries around the world.
- Click to browse the agenda
The conference aimed to:
Review progress of newborn survival and health programming over the past decade, including updates on global initiatives such as Every Woman Every Child and the Child Survival Call to Action, and lay out the Global Newborn Action Plan.
Provide technical updates on (a) evidence-based newborn health interventions across the household-to-hospital continuum that address the three major newborn killers; (b) updated global guidelines for specific interventions, such as newborn resuscitation and postnatal care; and (c) linkages with select maternal and child health, nutrition and family planning and related interventions.
Share in-country experiences in scaling-up newborn health interventions, including health system strengthening issues, such as partnership coordination, human resources, training, quality of care, logistics, supervision, pay for performance, community health workers and monitoring and evaluation.
Discuss research priorities for newborn health and promising new technologies and innovative tools that would support newborn health programming at scale.
Photo by the ONE Campaign and Living Proof
Conference Documents and Resources
Representatives from over 50 countries participated in 43 sessions throughout the week of the conference. Satellite parties were held in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Madagascar and others, and the live webcast was viewed over 16,000 times throughout the week.
Local and international media were reporting all week long with updates from the conference. The continuous presence of journalists throughout the four days, enabled us to share far and wide the contents of the proceedings through print, radio, television and the web. The high volume of media coverage included outlets such as CNBC, SABC TV and Radio, Forbes Africa, BBC Swahili, Channel Africa Radio, The Star, E-News, and IPS.
With over 28,000 contributors on twitter, online conversations reached 48 million people across the world.
> Read the conference Twitter feed and use #newborn2013 to continue the conversation about the Global Newborn Action Plan #NewbornActionPlan. Connect with organizing partners and make your voice heard.
> View the Daily Digest's from the conference.
> Do you have any questions? Send us an e-mail!
The conference is supported by USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), with additional support from John Snow, Inc., the Laerdal Foundation, and Jhpiego.
Newborn health matters
Among all children, newborns have the highest risk of death. Three preventable and treatable killers are taking the lives of 3 million newborns each year -- prematurity, asphyxia, and infections. These 3 causes together account for nearly 80% of all newborn deaths. Learn more about the causes of newborn death and what can be done to avert needless deaths.
Complications from prematurity: Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn deaths and now the number two cause of child deaths globally, after pneumonia. Each year more than 1 million babies die from complications from preterm birth, and preterm babies who survive may face a lifetime of disability.
Complications during childbirth: Birth asphyxia – when babies are born not breathing – is one of the major causes of newborn deaths worldwide, claiming over 700,000 lives each year. Every year 10 million babies require help to breathe immediately after birth. Simple means to stimulate breathing, including drying and rubbing, and ventilation with bag and mask, could save the majority of these babies.
Newborn infections: Severe neonatal infection is one of the top three causes of newborn deaths worldwide, claiming over 700,000 newborn deaths each year. Most of these lives could be saved by improving hygiene and reducing exposure to life-threatening bacterial infections particularly in the first week of life, and by making antibiotics available to newborns who become sick.