Neonatal mortality rate declines at a slower pace

KARACHI: Remarkable progress has been made in recent decades to reduce the number of child deaths worldwide, but neonatal mortality rates have declined at a slower pace. Yet most newborn deaths are preventable and opportunities for addressing newborn health are unprecedented especially when effectively integrated with care for women and children. Today, much more is known about effective interventions and service delivery channels, and of approaches to accelerate coverage and quality of care.

According to a WHO report, renewed commitments have been made by many governments and partners in response to the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health (2010) and its accompanying Every Woman, Every Child initiative and to recommendations made by the Commission on Information and Accountability (2011) and the Commission on Life-saving Commodities (2012).

The recognition that newborn survival has lagged behind maternal and under-five survival has triggered an initiative of multiple stakeholders to propose to the global health community the development of a draft global action plan called Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths (ENAP). Specific plans and targets for maternal health are also under development and will be linked to this process.

Development of this plan has been guided by the advice of countries and experts, and coordinated by a core group of partners, led by WHO and UNICEF. This process included several multi-stakeholder consultations at different global and regional fora.

The development of the plan is also informed by a systematic review of the progress made, globally in the last decade; the epidemiological situation; the effectiveness of interventions available; and the identification of bottlenecks faced by countries in implementation of effective newborn health interventions at scale and their possible solutions.

The ENAP is situated in the continuum of care and will contribute to the overall reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health plans at national level.

The final draft of the ENAP will be presented to Member States at the sixty-seventh World Health Assembly, in May 2014.

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