WHO/UNICEF for better care and stronger legislation to save babies

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KARACHI, Dec 13 (APP):Nearly 30 million babies are born too
soon, too small or become sick every year and need specialized care to
survive, says a report released Thursday by a global coalition that
includes UNICEF and WHO.
The report, “Survive and Thrive: Transforming care for every
small and sick newborn,” finds that among the newborn babies most at
risk of death and disability are those with complications from
prematurity, brain injury during childbirth, severe bacterial
infection or jaundice, and those with congenital conditions.
Additionally, the financial and psychological toll on their
families can have detrimental effects on their cognitive, linguistic
and emotional development.
Seeking better care and stronger legislation to save babies on
the brink of death the global coalition warned that the world may not
achieve the global target to achieve health for all unless it
transforms care for every newborn.
The report shows that by 2030, in 81 countries, the lives of 2.9
million women, stillborns and newborns can be saved with smarter
strategies. For example, if the same health team cares for both mother
and baby through labour, birth and beyond, they can identify problems
early on.
In addition, almost 68 per cent of newborn deaths could be
averted by 2030 with simple fixes such as exclusive breastfeeding;
skin-to-skin contact between the mother or father and the baby;
medicines and essential equipment; and access to clean, well-equipped
health facilities staffed by skilled health workers. Other measures
like resuscitating a baby who cannot breathe properly, giving the
mother an injection to prevent bleeding, or delaying the cutting of
the umbilical cord could also save millions.
Warning that without rapid progress, some countries will not meet
this target for another 11 decades, the report recommended that to
save newborns there must be provision for round-the-clock inpatient
care for newborns seven days a week.
Training nurses to provide hands-on care working in partnership
with families; Harnessing the power of parents and families by
teaching them how to become expert caregivers and care for their
babies, which can reduce stress, help babies gain weight and allow
their brains to develop properly and providing good quality of care
should be a part of country policies.
This was cited to be a lifelong investment for those who are
born small or sick as counting and tracking every small and sick
newborn allows managers to monitor progress and improve results.
The report produced by a coalition of organizations that include
the World Health Organization, UNICEF, USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, Save the Children, London School of Hygiene and Tropical
Medicine, International Pediatrics Association (IPA), Council of
International Neonatal Nurses (COINN), the International Confederation
of Midwives (ICM), European Foundation for the Care of Newborn
Infants, Preterm Birth Initiative, Sick Kids Centre for Global Health,
Every Preemie at Scale and Little Octopus are those that support
countries to implement the Every Newborn Action Plan.
Allocating the necessary resources, as an additional investment
of US$ 0.20 cents per person can save 2 of every 3 newborns in low-
and middle-income countries by 2030, said the compilers of the report.
They reminded that almost three decades ago, the Convention on
the Rights of the Child guaranteed every newborn the right to the
highest standard of health care, and it is time for countries around
the world to make sure the legislative, medical, human and financial
resources are in place to turn that right into a reality for every
child.
“When it comes to babies and their mothers, the right care at the
right time in the right place can make all the difference,” said Omar
Abdi, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director.
He regretted that yet millions of small and sick babies and women
are dying every year because they simply do not receive the quality
care that is their right and our collective responsibility.
“For every mother and baby, a healthy start from pregnancy
through childbirth and the first months after birth is essential,”
said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Deputy Director General for Programmes at
WHO.
Universal health coverage, experts said can ensure that everyone
“including newborns” has access to the health services they need,
without facing financial hardship.
Progress on newborn health care is a win-win situation as it
saves lives and is critical for early child development thus impacting
on families, society, and future generations, said the report
compilers.
According to the report Without specialized treatment, many
at-risk newborns will not survive their first month of life.