Tag Archives: newborns

Why Breastfeeding Matters to Babies and Mothers

This post was originally published today on the World Vision USA’s blog.

When I visit low- and middle-income countries like Ethiopia, Zambia, the Philippines, and Tanzania, I am always heartened by the number of mothers I see breastfeeding their babies. Breastfeeding for so many of these mothers is the best and most affordable way for them to nourish their babies. While every mother does not breastfeed to be sure, the sheer number of mothers I see breastfeeding at local clinics, while walking with their baby strapped to them or taking a break on a city bench, gives me hope.

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An Increasing Number of Normal Weight and Term Babies Are Admitted to American NICUs

A study conducted by two Dartmouth researchers reveals an increasing number of normal weight and term babies are being cared for in hospitals’ NICUs across the country calling into question the reasoning behind intensive care for healthy babies. Tracking births from January 2007 through December 2012 the study conducted by Wade Harrison, MPH, and David Goodman, MD, MS, of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice found a 23 percent increase in NICU stays for normal weight and term babies.

In their paper, Epidemiologic Trends in Neonatal Intensive Care, published this month in JAMA Pediatrics, Harrison and Goodman admit there are no definitive reasons why the increase is steadily occurring, although they do sound the alarm that a pattern was discovered across 18 million live births.

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New Bill is Committed to Reducing Maternal, Newborn, and Child Mortality

Today a new bipartisan bill, The Reach Every Mother and Child Act, was introduced to the Senate by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Chris Coons (D-Del). The Reach Every Mother and Child Act will build upon decades-old work of the United States being a leader on drastically reducing maternal, newborn, and child mortality. In fact, this new bill will help save the lives of 15 million children and 600,000 women by 2020.

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Humanitarian Designs Innovative Diaper for Developing Countries

Michael Wahl didn’t purposely set out to create an innovative cloth diaper for babies who live in the developing world as well as a humanitarian organization, Dri Butts, that distributes diapers to families in need. Rather, he saw it as a necessity to prevent diseases caused by the spread of fecal matter.

Many children in low-and middle-income countries have an increased chance of not living to see their fifth birthday oftentimes because of diseases whose cause stems from fecal matter. In fact, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under five. Other fecal-related diseases are cholera and typhoid.

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48 Corporations Step Up to Curb Newborn Deaths

A new, first-of-its-kind report, The Ultimate Investment in the Future Profiles of Corporate Engagement in the Health and Development of Newborns [PDF] was recently released that catalogs 48 corporations and their financial commitments to saving the lives of more newborns globally. Currently there are 2.6 million stillbirths every year and 2.8 million newborns do not make it past four weeks. Most of these deaths occur due to prematurity. India and Nigeria see most newborn deaths.

Last year the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) was endorsed by the 67th World Health Assembly. The new report ranks the listed corporations by ENAP’s five strategic objectives including:

  1. investing in care during labor, birth and the first week of life
  2. improving the quality of maternal and newborn care
  3. reducing inequities
  4. harnessing the power of parents, families and communities
  5. counting, measuring and tracking births, deaths, program quality and performance

Exxon, for example, has created a program that helps prevent malaria in pregnancy in Chad and Cameroon. GE funds technology for quality maternal health care in over 150 countries and Johnson & Johnson funds mobile phone programs that sends maternal health news and information to women in 175 countries.

Without the added financial support and investments in maternal and newborn health, the number of newborn deaths would not decrease substantially over time. The report also shows each of the corporations and the countries in which they work. Since, as aforementioned, India, Nigeria and Pakistan have the highest number of newborn deaths, they also have some of the most corporate newborn health and survival programs of all of the countries. Health care equipment and services and pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sectors make up the vast majority of corporations.

Read The Ultimate Investment in the Future Profiles of Corporate Engagement in the Health and Development of Newborns [PDF]

Photo: MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti