Title: Innovations to Improve Neonatal Mortality in low and Middle-Income Countries
While maternal, infant and under-five child mortality rates in developing countries have declined significantly in the past two to three decades, newborn mortality rates have reduced much more slowly. Every year 3 million newborns die before reaching the first month of life.
Evidence-based interventions are available which, if scaled-up, can prevent roughly half of neonatal deaths; these include tetanus toxoid immunization to mothers, clean and skilled care at delivery, newborn resuscitation, exclusive breastfeeding, clean umbilical cord care, and/or management of infections. Apart from these conventional approaches, few innovative approaches have been developed to reduce neonatal
Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is recommended for the routine care of newborns weighing 2000 g or less at birth, who are more prone to hypothermia. It is defined as the practice of skin- to-skin care continuously throughout the day without breaking the contact between mother and baby.
More recently, an intervention, employing participatory learning action cycle using women’s groups, has shown an impressive reduction in neonatal mortality in several countries. However, many neonates require facility-based care, thus underscoring the need for strong linkages with the local health systems and the community.
Antenatal corticosteroid therapy for pregnant women at risk of preterm birth is among the most effective hospital-based interventions to reduce neonatal mortality. It is recommended for women at risk of preterm birth from 24 weeks to 34 weeks of gestation when certain conditions are fulfilled.
More effort needs to be made if neonatal mortality, particularly in low and middle income countries, is to be reduced and the SDG 3 targets are met.