Globally, more women survive pregnancy and childbirth and more children survive their early years than ever before. In fact, annual deaths of women in pregnancy and childbirth and the number of children under-five dying has fallen nearly 50 percent in the past two decades.
This progress, while remarkable, is marred by a lack of progress on newborn health. Newborn deaths now account for a growing proportion—nearly half—of all under-five deaths worldwide. Each year, 2.9 million newborns die in their first month after birth, and one million within their first day.
Thankfully, proven, cost-effective solutions are already available that can turn the tide for newborns. Many of these solutions also improve the health of women and children, who still die needlessly from preventable and treatable causes. For example we know that interventions such as newborn resuscitation, clean umbilical cord care, exclusive breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact between mother and newborn, and access to family planning, among others, improves overall health outcomes.
The health and wellbeing of women, newborns, and children are closely linked and help build prosperous communities and nations. The gains we have made for women and children demonstrate
that when there is will around proven interventions, progress follows. Political will and commitment around women and children – and especially newborns – is urgently needed.