Smarter strategies, simple fixes
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The report Survive and Thrive: Transforming Care for Every Small and Sick Newborn by a global coalition that includes the United Nations Children’s Fund and World Health Organization showed that almost 30 million babies are born too soon, too small or become sick every year and they need specialized care to survive.
Among newborn babies, most at risk of death and disability are those with complications from prematurity, brain injury during childbirth, severe bacterial infection or jaundice and those with congenital conditions. It also showed that the financial and psychological toll on their families can have detrimental effects on their cognitive, linguistic, and emotional development.
Unicef deputy executive director Omar Abdi said that “millions of small and sick babies and women are dying every year because they simply do not receive the quality care that is their right and our collective responsibility.”
The report maintained that without specialized treatment, many at-risk newborns won’t survive their first month of life.
Last year, 2.5 million newborns died, mostly from preventable causes. Almost two-thirds of babies who died were born premature and even if they had survived, these babies faced chronic diseases or developmental delays.
The report showed that by 2030, in 81 countries, the lives of 2.9 million women, stillborns and newborns can be saved with smarter strategies and 68 percent of newborn deaths could be averted with “simple fixes” such as exclusive breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact between mother or father and the baby; medicine and essential equipment; and access to clean, well equipped health facilities staffed by skilled health workers.
Most of the smarter strategies and simple fixes that can save small and sick newborn babies can be easily applied. If we start implementing those measures now, we might be able to save the lives of more vulnerable babies and give them the opportunity to be productive members of society in the near future.*