To ensure every child survives and thrives to reach their full potential, we must focus on improving care around the time of birth and the first week of life. Nearly half of under-five deaths globally take place in the neonatal period.
Each year over 2 million babies die during labour, childbirth or on the first day of life (1.3 million intrapartum stillbirths; 1million newborn deaths in the first 24 hours). Another million newborns die before reaching the first week of life. Adverse birth outcomes are the biggest drain on human capital due to death and disability. Preventable death and disability matters.
Children are not dying because we don’t have the tools to save them. We have the knowledge and tools to save 3 million babies and women each year through investing in universal health coverage with high-quality healthcare. Cost-effectiveness analyses suggest that funds spent on health care quality improvement are very good investments: better care results in less preventable diseases, decreased treatment costs, and a reduced number of hospital admissions. The benefits far outweigh the costs.
Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths, endorsed as a resolution by 194 member states at the 67th World Health Assembly in 2014, provides a road map and clear milestones by 2020 that are needed in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals relating to the Every Woman Every Child movement. Achieving these milestones will improve the health outcomes for all – firstly, because a healthy start is the foundation of a healthy life and secondly, because newborn and maternal mortality and intrapartum stillbirths are sensitive markers of a health system’s response to their most vulnerable citizens.
Seventy-five countries completed the Every Newborn Tracking Tool in 2017 and these results are set out in the 2018 annual report Reaching Every Newborn National 2020 Milestones. Progressive uptake of the Tracking Tool (an increase from 51 countries in 2016) is helping to paint a clear picture of progress. The results show overall improvement
across all national milestones demonstrating country level commitment to achieving the milestones in the Every Newborn Action Plan. Table 1 sets out a short overview of progress.
The full Every Newborn Progress Report 2018 is available here.