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The Partnership co-ordinates a new and urgent initiative.

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health will drive a new global campaign 'Deliver Now for Women & Children', to reduce maternal and child deaths. Deliver Now will draw the world's attention to the more than 10 million deaths of women and children which occur each year, mainly in developing nations. Most of these deaths can be prevented through greater political commitment, increased investment in health services and support for communities to demand better access to quality health care.

Deliver Now is a component of a broader Global Campaign for the Health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which is being spear-headed by the leaders of Norway, Great Britain and Canada. The campaign's aim is to reinvigorate action towards the 2015 health targets agreed to by the global community in 2000, for which progress has been very slow.

A lack of continuity between maternal and child health programmes has meant that care of the newborn has fallen through the cracks between care of the mother and care of the older child. Because many of these deaths are related to care at the time of birth, newborn health goes hand in hand with the health of mothers (MDG5).

Of the 9.7 million under-five child deaths per year, about 3.6 million occur during the neonatal period. Almost 3 million of these die within one week and up to 2 million on their first day of life. An additional 3.3 million are stillborn. The three major causes of neonatal deaths worldwide are infections, pre-term birth and birth asphyxia.

The package of essential care includes antenatal care for the mother, skilled care at delivery and a birth attendant who can resuscitate newborns. Many infection-related deaths could be avoided by ensuring a clean birth and cord care as well as immediate, exclusive breast-feeding. Low birthweight babies need to maintain body temperature through skin-to-skin contact with the mother.

Communities and decision makers need to know that improved registration and increasing the availability and use of relevant information is essential if health care for newborn babies and their mothers is to be given adequate attention.

More detail at www.who.int/pmnch/activities/ delivernow/en/index.html
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Title Annotation:Worldwide news
Publication:International Midwifery
Date:Dec 1, 2007
Words:361
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