Article originally appeared in UNBconnect.com
Dhaka, July 6 (UNB) - Health experts at a dissemination session in the city have called for taking necessary steps with a view to saving the newborns as most of them still die within one month of their birth in the country.
They said that though Bangladesh has been a pioneer in improving newborn survival, the challenges are still ahead. “There have been some increases in coverage of key interventions such as skilled attendance at birth and postnatal care. However, these remain low and reach less than one-third of families.”
Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) Program of Save the Children organized the session, titled ‘Newborn Survival in Bangladesh: A Decade of Change and Future Implications’, at La Vinci Hotel here on Thursday.
Prof. Mohammad Sahidullah, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Dr. Uzma Sayeed, Regional Advisor (Asia Region), Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) Program of Save the Children, and Dr. Sayed Rubayet, Project Manager of SNL spoke on the occasion.
Prof. Mohammad Shahidullah said that though the rate of newborn mortality declined in Bangladesh in the last one decade, there is no scope of complacency. He said many of the newborn still die within one month of their birth.
Shahidullah, also Professor of Neonatology, said that checking hypertension and diabetes of mothers can save the newborns from many risks.
Dr. Uzma Sayeed said that of the death of under-five babies, about 57 percent are newborns.
Experts told the session that there were 83,000 newborn deaths in the country in 2010 with three causes -- infection, respiratory problem during birth and pre-term birth -- attributed to about 88 percent of the deaths.
They suggested several steps to save the newborns. These include `Kangaroo Mother Care’ can halve deaths amongst babies weighing 2kg at birth. Timely resuscitation using simple techniques (helping babies breathe) can reduce intrapartum related deaths by 30%. Injection antibiotics can reduce two-thirds of deaths. Treating at first level facilities or through community health workers could be ensured to prevent deaths from infection.
The dissemination session was also told that it has been possible to check death of 64,000 newborns in the last one decade due to combined efforts of all concerned.
The speakers stressed the need for proper antenatal and postnatal care.
Experts said priorities to further accelerate progress for newborn survival include greater consistency between the many implementing partners at community level, and more systematic focus on quality of care in facilities, especially for the vulnerable. Full coverage of care would save an estimated 70,000 newborns and 48,000 stillbirths in 2015, they said.
Experts said attention for community initiatives and considerable donor funding also appear to have contributed to some increases in coverage of key interventions, such as skilled attendance at birth and postnatal care. However, these remain low and reach less than one-third of families.
Future gains for newborn survival in Bangladesh rest upon increased implementation at scale and greater consistency in content and quality of programmes and services.
They, however, said that as coverage of health services increases, a notable gap remains in quality of facility-based care.