Excerpts from UNICEF website
“Child mortality in most countries has been decreasing in past decades, however, both neonatal and maternal mortality have largely remained the same. Neonatal mortality accounts for almost 40 per cent of estimated 9.7 million children under-five deaths and for nearly 60 per cent of infant (under-one) deaths. This means that a child is about 500 times more likely to die in the first day of life than at one month of age.”
“A common factor in these deaths is the health of the mother. Each year more than 500,000 women die in childbirth or from complications during pregnancy. Babies whose mothers have died during childbirth have a much greater chance of dying in their first year than those whose mothers remain alive. Ninety nine percent (99 per cent), of maternal and newborn mortality occurs in the developing world, where more than 50 per cent of women still deliver without the assistance of skilled health personnel. This is a powerful statement about inequity and access to quality care.”
Improving the health and nutrition of mothers-to-be and providing quality reproductive health services are pivotal to addressing many underlying causes of child mortality.
With close to 50 per cent of all newborn deaths occurring within 24 hours of delivery, and up to 75 per cent in the first week post partum, strategies must center on a continuum of care approach. This approach includes improving access to antenatal care during pregnancy, improved management of normal delivery by skilled attendants, access to emergency obstetric and neonatal care (EmONC) when needed, and timely post natal care for both mothers and newborns. In addition to strengthening linkages between the different levels of care in health facilities, the continuum of care also refers to strengthening linkages between the community and health facilities.”