Addressing Critical Knowledge Gaps in Newborn Health

Essential interventions, commodities and guidelines for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health

Essential interventions, commodities and guidelines for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health
World Health Organization, Aga Khan University


A new global consensus has been agreed on the key evidence-based interventions that will sharply reduce the 358 000 women who still die each year during pregnancy and childbirth and the 7.6 million children who die before the age of 5, according to a massive, three-year global study. The study, Essential interventions, commodities and guidelines for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, is designed to facilitate decision-making in low- and middle-income countries about how to allocate limited resources for maximum impact on the health of women and children.

The study reviewed more than 50 000 scientific papers to determine the proven effectiveness of interventions and impact on survival, identifying 56 essential interventions that when implemented in "packages" relevant to local settings, are most likely to save lives.

This document is designed for an audience of policy-makers who seek information on the specific health interventions to address the main causes of maternal, newborn and child deaths.

It is the result of collaborative work among many partners. The process was led by the World Health Organization, Switzerland, and the Aga Khan University, Pakistan. Experts in maternal, newborn and child health participated in meetings in Geneva in April 2010 and September 2011 and provided inputs to the development and finalization of this document. The contributions of the World Health Organization, the Aga Khan University, invited experts and partners are gratefully acknowledged.

This publication, and related advocacy material, will be distributed to over 430 PMNCH partners, and other stakeholders, primarily via the PMNCH website and knowledge portal. In addition, it will be distributed, and discussed, at selected RMNCH advocacy events.

CommentsAdd a Comment

Thanks for your comment. We agree - there is an urgent need for innovation and technology to help save more newborns. A recent blog by John Anner describes what organizations like the East Meets West Foundation is doing to ensure every family has access to a facility that offers basic care – good infection control, injection antibiotics, resuscitation, a KMC unit, phototherapy, and bubble CPAP for treating respiratory distress.

Evidnce interventions are expected to reduce neonatal morbidity and mortality. But the problem arises when we have motivated primary health workers and public for essential newborn care, in case a need arises for neonatal care in nursery for special care, there is often nonavailability of beds for neonates in nicu. Public education and awareness of all health workers should also match availability of neonatal intensive care beds , which are much less than the actual need. Often many a times a neonate with problems at birth(prematurity, birth asphyxia, respiratory distress) or later with neurological problems, sepsis, respiratory distress etc when refered to a higher level of care , becomes more sick in travel to find a place in nicu ,adding to problems by primary care docotor. We have an acute need of more neonatal intnsive care beds for improved survival, when as such with improved survival nicu occupancy is longer, need for ventilatory support is increasing.Simultaneously
services for overall intact survival in terms of neuro development, vision, hearing and speech etc have to be enhanced with early intervention of high risk neonates