A little over 13 years ago, my second child was stillborn. During that dark time of my life, I remember feeling helpless and wishing for some sort of a solution – for advances in the medical community and beyond to look for ways to prevent stillbirth. I didn’t have any concrete ideas of what those advances should be (other than advances in ultrasound technology which could maybe have detected the knots in my son’s umbilical cord). I had only the confidence that future science would ultimately save other mothers from losing their children before, during, and shortly after childbirth.
Countless women have experienced the heartbreak of losing a child. While maternal, infant and child death rates have decreased significantly over the years, newborn deaths now account for at least 44% of deaths among children under the age of five around the world. The Every Newborn Action Plan creates renewed focus and encourages policy makers to take action towards achieving key goals for women’s and children’s health. At its core is a deep commitment to child survival.
The Every Newborn Action Plan will focus on the goals of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. It provides a roadmap and clear actions for the reduction of preventable newborn deaths. This work is supported by a devoted collaboration of partners coordinated by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, including government leaders, health professionals, women’s and parent’s groups, and academic institutions.
Through better access to education, training and available tools, the Every Newborn Action Plan aims to help prevent at least two-thirds of the 2.6 million deaths of babies in the last three months of pregnancy or during childbirth.
That many lives saved means millions of mothers saved from the devastating experience of losing a child. Mothers just like me.
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Image of new baby courtesy www.EveryNewborn.org.