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The Every Newborn action plan is based on the latest epidemiology, evidence and global and country learning, and supports the United Nations Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child movement. The preparation was guided by the advice of experts and partners, led by WHO and UNICEF, and by the outcome of several multi-stakeholder consultations and a web-based consultation with more than 300 comments. Discussed at the 67th World Health Assembly, Member States endorsed the document and made firm commitments to put in practice recommended actions. The Director General has been requested to monitor progress towards the achievement of the global goal and targets and report periodically to the Health Assembly until 2030.
3 million babies and women could be saved each year through investing in quality care around the time of birth and special care for sick and small newborns. Cost-effective solutions are now available to protect women and children from the most dangerous day of their lives – the day of birth.
Unfinished agenda: Newborn health and stillbirths are part of the “unfinished agenda” of the Millennium Development Goals for women’s and children’s health. With newborn deaths still accounting for 44% of under-5 deaths globally, newborn mortality and stillbirths require greater visibility in the emerging post-2015 sustainable development agenda if the overall under-5 mortality is to be reduced.
We have solutions to address the main causes of newborn death: More than 80% of all newborn deaths result from three preventable and treatable conditions – complications due to prematurity, intrapartum-related deaths (including birth asphyxia) and neonatal infections. Cost-effective, proven interventions exist to prevent and treat each main cause. Improving quality of care around the time of birth will save the most lives, but this requires educated and equipped health workers, including those with midwifery skills, and availability of essential commodities.
Women’s and children’s health is a smart investment, particularly with specific attention to care at birth: High coverage of care around the time of birth and care of small and sick newborns would save nearly 3 million lives (women, newborns and stillbirths) each year at an additional running cost of only US$ 1.15 per person in 75 high burden countries. This would have a triple impact on investments – saving women and newborns and preventing stillbirths.
Action with a plan: The Every Newborn action plan was developed in response to country demand. It sets out a clear vision of how to improve newborn health and prevent stillbirths by 2035. The plan builds on the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and the Every Woman Every Child movement by supporting government leadership and providing guidance on how to strengthen newborn health components in existing health sector plans and strategies, especially those that relate to reproductive, maternal and child health. Every Newborn calls upon all stakeholders to take specific actions to improve access to, and quality of, health care for women and newborns within the continuum of care.