In developing countries each year, 4 million babies die within their first 28 days of life. The first few days of life are crucial to survival with babies 500 times more likely to die in their first day of life than once they reach one month old. During this time, simple measures like hygiene, supervision and care can mean the difference between life and death.
UNICEF Australia’s CEO Norman Gillespie tells 3Q that a new campaign which focuses on these first days aims to combat the problem by expanding the implementation of simple at-home interventions proven to be instrumental in preventing neonatal deaths.
In cases where babies are premature, UNICEF has instituted the Kangaroo Mother Care program, teaching mothers how to stabilise their baby’s breathing, heartbeat and temperature by wrapping them in a cloth ‘pouch’ close to the mother’s chest.
In a landmark study undertaken in India, community health workers were trained to recognise and treat serious neonatal illnesses with the result being drastically reduced child mortality rates.