“We have an epidemic of preterm and newborn deaths that represents one of the greatest health challenges of the 21st century. Two-thirds of these deaths could be prevented without intensive care,” said Francisco.
To learn more, Goats and Soda spoke with report co-author Robert Black, the director of the Institute for International Programs at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.
The rise in deaths from preterm birth complications actually coincides with a dramatic decline in the worldwide mortality rate of children under five.
“This marks a turning of the tide, a transition from infections to neonatal conditions, especially those related to premature births, and this will require entirely different medical and public health approaches.”
New data released today by the United Nations show that under-five mortality rates have dropped by 49% between 1990 and 2013.
“There has been a fatalistic acceptance from both communities and governments,” Professor Joy Lawn, a Ugandan-born paediatrician at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told AllAfrica in a telephone interview.
Newborn deaths reduce by 1.3 million in two decades but will take Africa 150 years to reach US/UK newborn survival levels – Study
The first week of life is considered as the riskiest week for newborns but yet many countries are only just beginning postnatal care programmes to reach mothers and babies at this critical time