A Call to Action to End Newborn Deaths

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At the 67th World Health Assembly on 24 May 2014, governments from around the world made a historic commitment to end preventable newborn deaths. Health ministers of 194 countries endorsed the Every Newborn Action Plan (referred to from here on as Every Newborn) and ratified a resolution calling for its implementation. 

This is very welcome progress. Until this point, newborn survival had been badly neglected. We strongly support Every Newborn as a catalyst to promote newborn survival, and to end all preventable deaths among newborn babies. 

The Every Newborn Action Plan sets a target to end all preventable newborn deaths by 2035 and achieve universal coverage of key services. Specifically, theworld has committed to a powerful and crucial setof promises:

  • Fewer than ten newborn deaths per 1,000 live births and ten stillbirths per 1,000 total births in and within each country by 2035, resulting in a global average of seven newborn deaths per 1,000 live births and eight stillbirths per 1,000 total births by 2035
  • 95% of women to give birth with skilled attendance by 2025
  • 75% of babies who do not breathe at birth to be resuscitated; 75% of preterm babies to receive kangaroo mother care; and 75% of newborn babies with bacterial infection receiving antibiotics by 2025
  • 90% of women and newborns to receive good-quality postnatal care within two days of birth by 2025, with tracking of content and outcomes such as 50% exclusive breastfeeding.

These targets are aligned with the child survival target of 20 or fewer under five deaths per 1,000 live births – a global commitment made as part of A Promise Renewed and the UN Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child initiative – and the working definition of an end to preventable child deaths. 

At the Partners’ Forum of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, we are calling on governments, development partners, donors, civil society and the private sector to make bold and additional commitments to Every Woman Every Child so that every newborn survives and thrives and every birth is supported with good-quality care.

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