Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

A group of mothers, women and infants.

Implementation research for maternal, newborn and child health interventions

A special supplement of Acta Paediatrica, “Addressing implementation challenges for maternal, newborn and child health interventions,” presents results from nine research studies that tested and documented the delivery of proven maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) interventions in eight different countries: China, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan and Syria. The research was supported by the WHO’s Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MCA) with funding provided by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR).

WHO/C. Black
A mother holds her newborn to her chest.

Survive and thrive: transforming care for every small and sick newborn. Key findings

Nearly 30 million babies are born too soon, too small or become sick every year and need specialized care to survive, according to a new report by a global coalition that includes WHO and UNICEF. The report says that those who do survive often do so with preventable conditions and disabilities that will affect them for life. These newborns can and will thrive as productive members of our societies, provided they are given high-quality inpatient care at the right time and in the right place, including follow-up care.

UNICEF India/Ashutosh Sharma
Two adolescent girls take a selfie photograph.

Coming of age - adolescent health

24 September 2018 -- The world now has more young people than ever before – of the 7.2 billion people worldwide, over 3 billion are younger than 25 years, making up 42% of the world population. Around 1.2 billion of these young people are adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years. Adolescence is a critical time of life. It is a time when people become independent individuals, forge new relationships, develop social skills and learn behaviours that will last the rest of their lives. It can also be one of the most challenging periods. "Coming of age" examines these issues facing adolescents.

A portrait of a child in Tanzania.

A child under 15 dies every 5 seconds - mostly from preventable causes

18 September 2018 – An estimated 6.3 million children under 15 years of age died in 2017, or 1 every 5 seconds, mostly from preventable causes, according to new mortality estimates released by WHO, UNICEF, the United Nations Population Division and the World Bank Group. The vast majority of these deaths – 5.4 million – occurred in the first 5 years of life, with newborns accounting for around half. Globally, half of all deaths under 5 years of age took place in sub-Saharan Africa, and another 30% in Southern Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 13 children died before their fifth birthday. In high-income countries, that number was 1 in 185.

A heath worker explains home-based records with family members.

WHO releases recommendations on home-based records for maternal, newborn and child health

13 September 2018 – Home-based records have been widely implemented for decades. They are currently in use in at least 163 countries. They vary greatly in their design and content across countries and regions. However, the evidence of their benefits and harms has not been systematically reviewed and summarized. This guideline seeks to address this gap by reviewing the evidence of the effects of home-based records on maternal, newborn and child health outcomes and health service delivery outcomes.

A child and infant seated.

Child health review considers the best country strategies to help each child survive and thrive

30 July 2018 -- The BMJ in partnership with WHO and UNICEF have launched a special collection of articles that explore how to achieve ambitious child health goals to safeguard the health and wellbeing of children across the world. The collection shares findings from a review of two leading global child health strategies, examines previous and current best practices and considers future needs when rethinking global and national child health programmes. It also aims to stimulate discussion and exchange between stakeholders at global, regional, and national levels, and provide a basis for policy and strategy changes at global and national level.

Partha Sarathi Sahana
A mother, supported by her mother, breastfeeds one of her 3-month-old twin sons, in Karineh Village in Magbema Chiefdom, Kambia District, in Sierra Leone.

3 in 5 babies not breastfed in the first hour of life

At the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August, WHO and UNICEF report that an estimated 78 million babies – or 3 in 5 – are not breastfed within the first hour of life, putting them at higher risk of death and disease and making them less likely to continue breastfeeding. The report analyzed data from 76 countries, and found that despite the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding, too many newborns are left waiting too long for reasons including: feeding newborns food or drinks, including formula; the rise in elective C-sections; and gaps in the quality of care provided to mothers and newborns


A woman with her baby wrapped close to her chest per Kangaroo Mother Care

Improving maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health through evidence based guidelines and guidance.

A father looks into the face of a newborn.

Generating high quality epidemiological information and monitoring and evaluation data to strengthen the uptake and implementation of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health guidelines, policies and programmes.

A midwife with a mother and newborn.

Quality of care means safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable and people-centred health care.

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Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MCA)
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27

Tel.: +41 22 791 3281
Fax: +41 22 791 4853