Save the Children recently released a brand-new report about newborn survival: Ending Newborn Deaths: Ensuring Every Baby Survives. 2.9 million babies die every year around the world from health complications that are wholly preventable like preterm complications and sepsis. Even though that number has been halved since 1990, the number of newborn deaths is still drastically high. Of those 2.9 million babies who die each year, 1 million of them die within the first 24 hours of life.
You’re probably wondering what can be done to reduce the number of newborn deaths around the world. Save the Children says access to care is one of the most important ways to keep more newborns alive. When mothers have prenatal and postpartum care as well as health care for their babies, it has been proven that mothers and babies have a greater chance of survival.
Additionally, Save the Children says that the cost of care should be reduced and even eliminated. The report cites a woman who gave bith in a hospital via C-section who then couldn’t leave until full payment was made. The cost was impossibly high for the woman and her husband at roughly $58 USD. If you have traveled to Africa, you know that a cost that high is nearly impossible to pay. Save the Children is also calling for more frontline health workers, especially midwives, who can provide care for mothers and their babies. When mothers have skilled birth attendants, their chances of living to take care of their babies drastically improves.
Yesterday on the global release date of the Ending Newborn Deaths report, mothers across the country blogged about how important newborn health and survival are to them.
Barb Webb of RuralMoms, for example, said, “Each of these babies deserve a chance at life. Each of these mothers deserve access to quality healthcare.”
Anne Parris reflected on her own deliveries saying, “I see now at the crisis point in my first birth, the medical care I had prevented a spiral that could have ended in the death of my son and possibly me. The most basic care I had is not available to most of the women of the world.”
And Jeana Shandraw wrote, “The key way to stop newborn deaths is to ensure that essential care is provided around labor, delivery, and immediately afterwards when the risks are greatest. That means having a skilled, well-equipped birth attendant available to assist women and newborns during delivery.”
Save the Children has called upon governments, philanthropists, and the private sector to begin saving more newborns by first declaring that newborn survival should be on every national agenda. That’s the first step.
You can read the full report at www.savethechildren.org/newborns.