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December 16, 2011

Three-year study identifies key interventions to reduce maternal, newborn and child deaths

A new global consensus has been agreed on the key evidence-based interventions that will sharply reduce the 358,000 women who still die each year during pregnancy and childbirth and the 7.6 million children who die before the age of 5, according to a massive, three-year global study. The study, Essential Interventions, Commodities and Guidelines for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, is designed to facilitate decision-making in low- and middle-income countries about how to allocate limited resources for maximum impact on the health of women and children.

A child's greatest risk of dying is during the first 28 days of life, accounting for 40% of all deaths among children under the age of 5. Half of newborn deaths occur during the first 24 hours and 75% during the first week of life, with preterm birth, severe infections and asphyxia being the main causes.

Some of the interventions include:

* Manage maternal anemia with iron;
* Prevent and manage post-partum hemorrhage;
* Immediate thermal care for newborns;
* Extra support for feeding small and preterm babies;
* Antibiotics for the treatment of pneumonia in children.

"What is new," says Dr. Elizabeth Mason, Director of WHO’s department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, and an author of the study, "is putting together information in a different way and building consensus among physicians, scientists and professional organizations to lay out an evidence-based path to help women before, during and after birth and their children. Everyone now agrees on the 56 essential interventions."




28 page report



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