Last week the Global Newborn Health Conference took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. As the first conference to gather leading experts and NGOs together working to reduce newborn mortality, one solid, unified voice emerged committed to saving more newborn lives not in lip service, but rather in actionable ideas and steps to reach Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 by 2015.
Reaching MDG4 globally is a daunting task to be sure. That is why leading organizations and foundations have to tackle newborn mortality full throttle. With less than 1000 days to reach MDG 4 across the board some countries will meet their targeted goals and others will fall short. We know this. However, the post 2015 agenda is equally as important in order to strive to keep more babies alive. Reducing the number of 3 million babies who die each year is an ongoing process. In fact, the number seems so high you might feel you can’t truly help if you’re not a part of the global development community, but you can. Here’s how.
- Become a part of the conversation: Emerging from the Global Newborn Health Conference was the Global Newborn Health Action Plan. The Plan, which will be officially launched in November, is looking for a range of voices about ways to reduce newborn deaths. You can have your say at www.globalnewbornaction.org and also join the conversation on Twitter at #newbornactionplan.
- Donate to newborn health projects: Through Catapult, a crowdfunding platform with a clear emphasis on women and girls, you can donate to carefully chosen projects that specifically help newborns. Consider donating to PATH’s breast milk banking project in South Africa or birth waiting homes in Sierra Leone that will save moms’ and babies’ lives.
- Advocate for and support leading NGOs: There are leading NGOs that work specifically in the areas of maternal and newborn health like Save the Children that works in over 100 countries saving children and Jhpiego that has health programs in more than 25 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
- Shop and support the March of Dimes: Through Mother’s Day you can shop, dine, and donate to the March of Dimes through their new imbornto.com campaign. Funds go to improve and amplify research to save more babies’ lives both domestically and globally.
If you missed our piece about Day 1 of India’s Child Survival Summit on the Gates Foundation blog, Impatient Optimists, you can read it at The Most Important Conversation This Week: India on the Survival of its Children.
You might recall our coverage of the Child Survival Summit that was held in Washington, DC last year. Convened by the Ministries of Health of Ethiopia and India along with UNICEF and USAID decreasing the child mortality rate became front and center on the global agenda in 2012. This year the conversation continues with summits in both Ethiopia (that took place last month) and in India that is happening this week.
A few key facts:
- India accounts for the largest number of under five deaths (Source)
- India decreased its child mortality rate by 45% since 1990 (Source)
Announced today: India created a new management tool to improve accountability: scorecards.
Dr. Abnay Bang talks about home-based newborn care practices in India
Mrs Anuradha Gupta from the Indian Ministry of Health discusses key takeaways from day 1.
Dr. Vinod Paul also discusses home-based newborn care practices
Follow the summit through Saturday at the #C2AIndia hashtag.
UN Photo/Mark Garten
This week child survival is under critical review in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the African Leadership for Child Survival – A Promise Renewed summit. This meeting, held at the African Union headquarters and convened by the Ethiopian government along with UNICEF and USAID brought together African Ministers of Health to enter into discussions about markedly improving child survival rates. The summit ends Friday.
Between 1990-2011 child mortality has decreased 39% in sub-Saharan Africa. According to UNICEF, 1 in 8 children in sub-Saharan Africa die before their fifth birthday from five leading causes: pneumonia, pre-term birth complications, diarrhea, intrapartum-related complications, newborn infection, and malaria.
Key tweets and infographics are emerging from the summit at the #promise4children hashtag.
USAID Administrator Dr. Raj Shah addressed the summit via video:
Some of the topics in discussion are community-based newborn care, reducing stunting to increase child survival and increasing skilled birth attendants to decrease newborn and child mortality.
For more information on child survival and child mortality rates visit www.apromiserenewed.org.
Photo: Jennifer James
Today in the developing world over 11,000 children – especially those under the age of five – will die. These deaths are largely caused by preventable disease and neonatal conditions that can also be prevented. In all, that number totals 4.4 million children a year. That number, while explosively high, is significantly down 70 percent from 20 years ago. Now, the global health community is pushing to reduce child mortality to 2 million deaths per year by 2035. While it will not be easy, it is certainly achievable.
This week USAID, UNICEF, and the governments of India and Ethiopia convened the Child Survival Call to Action event held at Georgetown University. There we heard from key leaders in the area of child survival; those who are invested in dramatically reducing the child mortality rate in developing countries. Eighty percent of all child deaths occur in 28 countries. Of those deaths 40 percent are concentrated in five countries – India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, and Ethiopia. In order to reduce child mortality these countries in particular must work toward keeping more of its children alive.
Here are two commitments to child survival from the Ministers of Health for Ethiopia and India.
Now a new initiative has been launched to hold countries accountable to the pledges they make to reduce child mortality. You can read more at A Promise Renewed.
If you keep up with MDG (Millennium Development Goals) news it would seem unfathomable that a report would emerge from Sub-Saharan African that infant and child mortality has fallen within recent years.
The Millennium Development Goal 4 says that child mortality should be reduced by 2/3 in the developing world by 2015, which comes to 4.4% per year per country. In a previous post I wrote that the World Bank and IMF reported during their spring meetings a few weeks ago that child mortality would not reach the UN’s Millennium Development Goal because only 1/3 of child deaths have been decreased thus far. That, however, does not mean progress is not being made.
According to the Africa Can…End Poverty blog from the World Bank statistics show that 20 Sub-Saharan countries have witnessed a significant decrease in child mortality for children under the age of five particularly in Senegal, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.
Gabriel Demombynes and Ritva Reinikka note that these mortality decreases are likely due to the wide use of insecticide-treated bed nets and improved sanitation.
This is great news for the global health community as progress is certainly being made.