24-29 August 2013 ¦ Melbourne, Australia
“Bridging the Gaps in Child and Adolescent Health” was this year’s theme for the 27th Congress of the International Pediatric Association. 3,0000 pediatricians from more than 100 countries gathered in Melbourne to discuss how to promote and improve child and adolescent health, linking to examples of progress and need for greater acceleration towards the Millennium Development Goals.
During the conference, Newborn survival was the theme of two linked sessions on Tuesday, 27 August which introduced the Every Newborn movement to the paediatric community and promoted discussion about priorities for action. The first session, examined newborn health today with a look to the future and interventions needed to reduce preventable newborn deaths. One such effective intervention according to Dr Zulfi Bhutta, President –elect of IPA, was that of community workers and women’s group with evidence showing 29% reduction of newborn death.
Then a seminar, chaired by Dr Mickey Chopra, focused on the Every Newborn process, allowing panelist to highlight work in their communities. Contributions and suggestions on the Every Newborn plan generated enthusiastic discussion from the audience, which was also reflected on the` Vision for Newborns by 2035` wall participants were invited to post to. A selection of participants vision for newborns includes:
- All babies born everywhere will have a healthy start in life;
- Every delivery will have a trained birth attendant;
- Reducing inequalities in prenatal newborn care across the globe and addressing preventable birth defects and the morbidity, mortality associated with them;
- Babies born in the poorest and deprived countries will have the same risk of living and dying as in the developed industrialized countries;
- In 2035, no deaths due to prematurity, birth asphyxia and sepsis;
- The plan needs to include strategies to get governments and universities of health on board;
- Equitable access to high quality health care for all newborns;
- Creating centers of excellence and providing support for much better study to document best practices may play a role.
- Must go to the rural health centers to conduct trainings – will not reach all necessary support health workers by simply inviting health workers to big cities.
One of the key messages which came out of this consultation with the pediatric community was that of a need for messaging beyond 2015 to influence political will. Newborn is seen as a good way to steer for child survival issues and beyond survival.