Newborns who are born too early, too small, or who become sick in the first few weeks of life are extremely vulnerable, and require special attention and care. Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death in children under five years of age, accounting for approximately one million deaths per year. It is estimated that three-quarters of these deaths can be prevented with existing, cost-effective interventions 1. Every woman, family, and community deserve to experience the best outcomes on the day of birth. To progress towards goals set in the SDGs, women, and families – particularly those living in underserved or marginalized communities – must be able to access affordable, client-centered care. To reduce poor outcomes for small and sick newborns and prevent unnecessary neonatal deaths, it is equally important that the quality of care along the continuum (ensuring the right maternal and newborn health interventions happen at the right time and location), is improved for both women and newborns.
1 World Health Organization 2020 Standards for Improving the Quality of Care for Small and Sick Newborns during the first 28 days of life