Around the world, one million tiny new babies take their first and last breaths on the day they are born. Another 1.5 million babies die within their first month of life.
Newborn baby deaths remain alarmingly high, particularly in the world's poorest countries. But millions of these babies' lives could be saved every year if every mother and every baby had access to affordable, quality healthcare, good nutrition and clean water.
Too many newborns are unjustly dying because of the environment they're born into -
whether it's an impoverished family, a country consumed by conflict or devastated by natural disasters, or a maginalised community. Their mothers need access to birthing centres and trained birth attendants who can provide expert advice, supplies and support needed to ensure these newborns have the best chance at life.
Babies born to the poorest families are 40 per cent more likely to die as newborns than those born to families who are better off. Take Pakistan for example, 1 in 22 babies born in 2016 died before they were four weeks old. In many circumstances, prematurity, complications during labour and birth and infections like sepsis, pneumonia, tetanus and diarrhoea are among the leading causes of death - and they can all be treated or prevented so simply and affordably.
“Given that the majority of these
deaths are preventable, clearly, we
are failing the world's poorest babies.”
Sarah recently gave birth to her first child – a beautiful boy named Savah. At 10 days old, her son was tiny – weighing just 1kg.
In South Sudan there are just a few incubators in the whole country. Savah was lucky enough to spend some of his time in one, and UNICEF was also able to support his mother Sarah to learn other life-saving techniques, such as the simple act of breastfeeding, while more premature babies shared the coveted incubator.
After she gave birth, Sarah spent much of her time in the neonatal Intensive Care Unit providing kangaroo care to Savah, holding him closely, skin-to-skin, while singing to him so he could learn to recognise his mother’s voice. She breastfed Savah, and provided him with additional nutrients through pumped milk. With this support, his chances of now surviving are much greater.
UNICEF is working with the help of our supporters, so that affordable, quality healthcare can be available for every mother and child. We can provide lifesaving interventions such as immunisation, breastfeeding advice and increased access to water and sanitation. Many of these things are beyond the reach of the world's poorest communities.
Our solution? The Four Ps:
- Place: Guaranteeing clean, functional health facilities within the reach of every mother and baby
- People: Recruiting, training, retaining and managing sufficient numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives with the skills to save newborn lives
- Products: Making the top 10 life-saving drugs and equipment available for every mother and baby
- Power: Empowering adolescent girls, mothers and families to demand and receive quality care
You can provide life-saving aid today. Your donation will directly help fund UNICEF programs that provide education facilities, health support, clean water and vaccinations to newborn babies, infants and children around the world where the need is greatest.