One of the highlights of the 67th World Health Assembly held last week in Geneva, Switzerland, was the passing of the Every Newborn Action Plan, a multistakeholder initiative that calls for countries to end preventable newborn and stillborn deaths by 2035.
If successful, the ENAP will result in fewer than 10 newborn deaths in 1,000 live births and fewer than 10 stillbirths — or fetal deaths that occur during the last three months of pregnancy — in 1,000 births by the deadline.
Newborn deaths now account for a larger proportion of deaths of children under 5, according to the “Every Newborn” series of papers published in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, last week. From 36 percent in 1990, infant mortality comprised 44 percent of deaths of children under 5 in 2012.
The “Every Newborn” series presents even more dismal figures: 8,000 newborns die every day — resulting in about 2.9 million newborn deaths annually — and around 7,000 stillbirths daily — or roughly 2.6 million stillbirths each year.