Saving Newborn Lives – Newborn Health Legacy Call to Action

Gladis Atyang and her newborne baby Maraga at Changara dispensary, Busia County, Kenya 2017 Funded by UK Aid, Save the Children are working closely with the Ministry of Health (MoH) to improve the quality of, and access to, maternal and newborn health services in Busia County. We have provided Changara Dispensary with a delivery room and essential equipment which, alongside training for MoH doctors and nurses, has enabled the facility to cater for assisted deliveries. Prior to this, if a mother had complications during labour their only option was to pay to travel to a hospital for a caesarean. Now Save the Children pay for the services of a “boda boda” motorcycle taxi to act as an ambulance and bring mothers to the dispensary to deliver safely day or night. Save the Children have trained Community Health Workers who do outreach in the community, identifying pregnant mothers and visiting them to provide maternal and newborn health messages. Training has also been given to traditional birth attendants, encouraging them to act as birth companions and to support expectant mothers to deliver in a health facility rather than at home. Funded by UK Aid

Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) initiative is celebrating 20 years of targeted action in newborn health, reflecting global, regional, national, and local partner support and commitment around the world.  Despite this progress, too many women and their newborns—including stillborn babies—die every year due to complications in pregnancy, childbirth, and the first 30 days of life. In 2019, as highlighted in the IGME child mortality report, there were 5.2 million deaths in children under 5, with 2.4 million (46 percent) in neonates and millions more in need of small and sick inpatient newborn care in order to survive and thrive. In this time of pandemic crisis, our mission as a global community of stakeholders committed to reaching mothers and their newborns with high-impact interventions along the continuum of care is more important than ever. This is especially true as we redouble our efforts to accelerate progress toward Every Newborn targets and milestones and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets 3.1 and 3.2, for maternal, newborn, and child health.

Saving Newborn Lives – Newborn Health Legacy Call to Action

  1. Advance Every Newborn Action Plan 2025 coverage targets and milestones and the SDGs by working collaboratively with Ministries of Health and other key stakeholders to ensure investment and political will lead to actions that amplify progress.
  2. Accelerate universal provision of respectful high quality care that is family-centered and supports a nurturing environment for newborns and their mothers in all settings while improving access to family planning and other reproductive health services. 
  3. Prioritize the mother and child dyad and integrate early childhood development, WASH/infection prevention and control, and other MNH interventions that babies and their mothers, including young and first time mothers, need to survive and thrive.
  4. Support universal access to high quality care for small and sick newborns by testing and scaling nascent opportunities while ramping up proven solutions like kangaroo mother care through advocacy, standard indicators, facilitative infrastructure, country specific plans, and an increased focus on follow up care following facility discharge.
  5. Improve MNH reach and coverage equity in fragile, humanitarian, and hard to reach settings and with marginalized groups in urban areas where mortality is often highest.
  6. Measure and report MNH progress and outcomes while strengthening partner capacities to use data for continuous quality improvement.

Over the last 20 years, Save the Children and a broad and deep coalition of partners representing government, donors, civil society, and the communities and families we serve have worked collaboratively to elevate newborn health and survival as a public health priority, firmly anchoring the “N” in MNH. We have accomplished a great deal, but more needs to be done. We invite you to champion the agenda for mothers and newborns in your conversations, through platforms to share experience, knowledge, and evidence, and in meaningful engagement with and support to local partners and stakeholders. We all have a role to play in galvanizing global and local action for mothers and their children—please join us.  Learn more at the Healthy Newborn Network.

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