Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Newborn health

More women and children survive today than ever before – UN report

Portrait of a mother and child.

More women and their children are surviving today than ever before, according to new child and maternal mortality estimates released today by United Nations groups led by WHO and UNICEF. Still, the new estimates reveal that 6.2 million children under 15 years died in 2018, and over 290 000 women died due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth in 2017. Of the total child deaths, 5.3 million occurred in the first 5 years, with almost half of these in the first month of life. Women and newborns are most vulnerable during and immediately after childbirth. An estimated 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns die every year, or 1 every 11 seconds, mostly of preventable causes.

Management of the sick young infant aged up to 2 months - updated chart booklet and training manuals

August 2019 -- This update reflects the recent guidelines on Managing possible serious bacterial infection (PSBI) in young infants when referral is not feasible published in 2015. It includes assessment, classification and referral of sick young infants (SYI) with PSBI; and outpatient treatment of SYI with local infection or fast breathing (pneumonia) in infants 7-59 days old. Other updates include: a new section on how to reassess, classify and treat SYI with PSBI when referral is not feasible in outpatient health facilities by IMNCI trained health workers; changes in assessment and management of young infants for HIV infection; and identification of infants less than 7 days of who need Kangaroo Care. The IMCI training course for health workers has been updated to reflect these updates to support the capacity building of health workers in using the updated SYI IMNCI chart booklet.

Survive and thrive: transforming care for every small and sick newborn

A mother holds her newborn close to her chest.
UNICEF India/Ashutosh Sharma

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.

Strengthening quality midwifery education

Health centre in Mbanza Ngungu, DRC. Nurse and mother admiring new born child in postnatal ward in maternity department.
S. Torfinn

Midwifery education is a key solution to the challenge of providing universal and quality maternal and newborn care to meet our Sustainable Development Goals. While improving access to care is critical, ensuring good quality of care has an even greater impact in terms of lives saved. WHO, ICM, UNFPA and UNICEF are finalising a report and action plan for strengthening quality midwifery education to be released at the World Health Assembly, 20-28 May 2019.

New resource consolidates data for maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

The MNCAH Data Portal is a new unique resource that brings together many different data on key indicators from several sources into one central place. The Data Portal will be the first comprehensive compilation of data on demographics, mortality, morbidity, risk factors, coverage and policy on maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health. It will help identify and fill gaps, as well as fulfilling global and national monitoring needs.

World Prematurity Day, 17 November 2018

A midwife in Nigeria helps a new mother wrap her preterm baby in the KMC position.
Jane Hanh/Save the Children

Every year 15 million babies are born prematurely. This is more than one in ten of all babies. Complications from preterm birth are the leading cause of child deaths under age five every year, accounting for nearly 1 million deaths. World Prematurity Day is an opportunity to call attention to the heavy burden of pain, suffering, disability and death that preterm birth can cause.

World Pneumonia Day, 12 November 2018

An infant sleeping.
UNICEF/UN017141/Shrestha

Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide. It accounts for around 16% of all deaths of children under five years. It affects children and families everywhere, but is most prevalent in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Children can be protected from pneumonia. It can be prevented with simple interventions, and treated with low-cost, low-tech medication and care. WHO is working to increase access to preventive care and effective treatments.

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.

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

A mother, supported by her mother, breastfeeds her infant in Sierra Leone.
UNICEF/Phelps

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

Alert: Chlorhexidine 7,1% digluconate (CHX) aqueous solution or gel (10ml): Reports of serious eye injury due to errors in administration

WHO has been made aware of multiple, recent reports of eye injury, including blindness, with the use of chlorhexidine gluconate 7.1%, in nine countries in sub Saharan Africa.