Battling Infant Mortality

Battling Infant Mortality

5 Global Kids' Health Issues

Huge progress has been made in many critical areas involving children's health. Yet there is still important work to be done, and most of it doesn't involve expensive new drugs or surgical procedures. Instead, it's about the basics that most of us take for granted. We have identified 5 issues that desperately need the world's attention for the sake of children and their families, and suggest some ways that you and your family can help.

Battling Infant Mortality

The joy of giving birth is usually accompanied by a sense of wonder while watching a tiny, fragile creature take those first breaths. Luckily, for most new mothers, skilled medical attendants are on hand to make sure that all goes well during and just after delivery.

The first 28 days of life — the "neonatal period" — are the riskiest in a child's life:

Almost three million babies die within the first month of life

Almost all newborn deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (particularly Africa and South Asia), where nearly half of all mothers and newborns do not have medical care during and after birth.

Most of these babies would survive if their mothers had a skilled birth attendant, especially if delivering in a health care facility. After birth, a newborn must be breathing well and kept warm.

Millennium Development Goal 4 addresses child mortality: "Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-5 mortality rate." The global under-5 mortality rate has dropped (from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 48 in 2012); however, deaths in the neonatal period increased from 37% to 44%.

Many of these deaths can be prevented through simple, affordable interventions that can be used in home births. Here are a few that could use your help:

Find out how to help kids worldwide in other important ways:

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: December 2013

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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