According to global statistics and hospital based data in Nepal, major causes of newborn deaths in Nepal are infection, birth asphyxia, preterm birth, and hypothermia. Three-quarters of all newborn deaths occur during the first week of life, 25–45% in the first 24 hours. This is also the period when most maternal deaths occur.
The underlying factors for this burden of death are the gap in continuum of care along life cycle (from mother to newborn to child) as well as from household to hospital, low institutional deliveries, lack of skilled care at pregnancy, delivery and post-natal period, inadequate access to and utilization of quality care, and poor maternal nutrition.
Over the past decade, the country, however, has had success in reduction of under-five mortality – largely owing to the implementation of community based child health programs at scale throughout the country over the past decade, particularly vitamin A supplementation and Community Based Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (CB-IMCI) services provided by Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHV). The learning's and experiences gained in child health programming thus rationalized the need and probable success of a community-based newborn care program in Nepal.
As an affirmative action to cut down the newborn deaths significantly, MoHP in its policies and programs has incorporated newborn health as an integral component of safe motherhood efforts since late 1990s and further endorsed National Neonatal Health Strategy in 2004.. Guided by the National Strategy, Community Based Newborn Care Program has been developed in 2007 with the goal to improve the health and survival of newborn babies. The program has been envisioned and designed for integration into the safe motherhood and child health programs.