[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 12-Jun-2012
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Contact: Tanya Weinberg
tweinberg@savechildren.org
202-247-6610
Save the Children

Save the Children report shows global health funding often ignores newborn babies

DC press invited to Wednesday evening launch of 'A Decade of Change for Newborn Survival' journal supplement by 150 global experts

WASHINGTON (June 12, 2012) —Save the Children has released a pioneering report on newborn survival over the last decade that shows the world has greatly overlooked a key area for reducing child deaths—newborn care.

The report, "A Decade of Change for Newborn Survival," was published in Health Policy and Planning today. Journalists are invited to attend the report launch, Wednesday 5:30-7:30 at FHI 360, Academy Hall, 1825 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC. (Please RSVP to tweinberg@savechildren.org)

The world has achieved remarkable progress on reducing child deaths—from 12.4 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010—but that progress isn't reaching newborn babies at the same pace, the report shows. As a result, more than 40 percent of child deaths now occur in the newborn period, or first month of life. However, the new report finds that globally only 0.1 percent of official development assistance for maternal and child health exclusively targets newborns, and only 6 percent mentions newborns at all—despite 3.1 million newborn babies dying each year.

"We must make sure to focus global efforts on when are kids are dying. Shockingly, this is right at the start of their lives when they are newborn babies," said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. "This week's "Child Survival Call to Action" in Washington presents a tremendous opportunity for world leaders to finish what they started and end preventable child deaths. They must make babies a core focus to achieve that."

Miles added: "Save the Children applauds the U.S., Indian and Ethiopian governments for hosting this high-level forum and the Obama Administration for its commitment to continuing essential and effective U.S. leadership on child survival."

The June 14-15 forum in Washington comes as Save the Children's major new report, "A Decade of Change for Newborn Survival," is published in the medical journal, Health Policy and Planning. Sixty main authors and 90 contributors collaborated for three years on a first-of-its-kind analysis of newborn health around the world and what is needed to speed up progress on ending newborn deaths. From 2000 to 2010 newborn deaths dropped from 3.7 million to 3.1 million annually.

The report shows political will to reach the poorest families with the most effective interventions for newborn health has had dramatic results in low-income countries such as Bangladesh, Malawi and Nepal. All three are on track to meet the 2015 target of Millennium Development Goal 4 of reducing child deaths by two thirds since 1990, and all have reduced newborn deaths at about double the rate of neighboring countries.

African families have the highest risk of newborn deaths and it would take 150 years at current rates of progress to achieve newborn death rates on par with the United States and Europe.

Other report findings include:

Save the Children urges world leaders gathered at this week's high-level forum to draw on these findings.

The "Child Survival Call to Action" aims to build on progress achieved in pursuit of the 2015 Millennium Development Goal on reducing child deaths with a global roadmap to reach new goals—notably, reducing child deaths to fewer than 20 per 1,000 births in every country by 2035. Currently 53 children under age 5 die per 1,000 births globally, 40 percent of them newborns. Forum participants will include 700 prominent leaders from government, the private sector, faith-based organizations and civil society, including Save the Children.

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Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and 120 countries around the world.

"A Decade of Change for Newborn Survival" was spearheaded by Save the Children's Saving Newborn Lives program, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and works in partnership with countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to reduce newborn mortality and improve newborn health.

Full report available here: http://heapol.oxfordjournals.org/content/27/suppl_3.toc

PDF with major highlights available here: http://www.healthynewbornnetwork.org/sites/default/files/resources/A%20Decade%20of%20change%20for%20newborn%20survival%20-%20fact%20cards%20%28compressed%29.pdf

Interviews available upon request with lead author, Dr. Joy Lawn of Save the Children.



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