November is Prematurity Awareness Month, a topic close to our hearts at the MCHIP Program. It offers a chance to reflect on the importance of our efforts to reduce neonatal mortality worldwide and on our future as we embark on our third program year.
Of the 9.7 million children who die every year before reaching their fifth birthday, we know about 3.7 million are newborns who do not survive their first four weeks of life. The majority of these newborns live in developing countries and most die at home. And three major causes—infections, birth asphyxia and preterm/low birth weight—account for 86% of neonatal deaths.
We also know that up to two-thirds of these deaths can be prevented if mothers and newborns receive known, effective interventions during pregnancy, childbirth and the first hours and days after birth. As USAID's flagship program for maternal, newborn and child health, MCHIP works in over 35 priority countries to scale up evidence-based approaches to improve newborn health, including skin-to-skin care for underweight babies, hygienic cord care, early and exclusive breastfeeding, and neonatal resuscitation.
Please take a moment to review the newborn health resources on our website, and thank you for your continued interest in the MCHIP Program.
Koki Agarwal, MD, MPH, DrPH