WESTPORT, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Recognizing that nearly 2 million newborns could be saved each year by making basic care more accessible to mothers in developing countries, Save the Children is pleased to announce the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s new five-year grant of $40 million to its Saving Newborn Lives program.
Since 2000, Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program has worked with governments and partners to develop and support the adoption of affordable and effective ways to improve newborn health and survival in many of the poorest countries in the world. During that time, substantial progress has been made towards clearly defining the major causes of newborn deaths and documenting what can be done to address those causes in countries where the need is greatest.
The new grant will enable Save the Children to demonstrate that proven solutions can be effectively delivered at large scale within the context of existing health programs. The Saving Newborn Lives program will continue its efforts to mobilize governments, donors, local partners and communities to make reducing newborn deaths a top priority while informing the global and country community what it takes to deliver lifesaving newborn care at scale. Save the Children will focus its work in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where more than three quarters of the world’s newborn deaths occur.
In the decade since Save the Children established its Saving Newborn Lives program with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, annual newborn deaths have dropped globally from 4 to 2.9 million. But progress is mixed across countries and regions and newborn deaths now account for over 43% of all deaths of children under the age of 5. Political commitment and funding for newborn survival and health remains inadequate, and progress in reducing newborn mortality lags behind recent progress in maternal survival and survival of older pre-school age children.
Working with local partners, Save the Children has demonstrated that empowering frontline health workers to educate families and provide basic newborn care in their communities, while linking to quality care for mothers and babies in health facilities, can dramatically reduce deaths and be replicated at scale.
“There is now substantial evidence that the vast majority of newborn deaths can be prevented with low-cost, low-tech care, such as teaching a mother the Kangaroo Mother Care method of keeping her newborn warm and to breastfeed her baby starting at birth,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. “This new five-year grant comes at a critical moment to accelerate progress in newborn survival, by allowing us to bring lifesaving interventions to many more mothers and newborns.”
More information can be found at www.savethechildren.org/savenewborns
Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Save the Children's Saving Newborn Lives program works in partnership with countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to reduce newborn mortality and improve newborn health. www.savechildren.org