Every Child Deserves to Survive

February 21, 2018


Every year, 2.6 million newborns around the world do not survive their first month of life. One million of them take their first and last breaths the day they are born. Newborn deaths now account for a greater — and growing — share of all deaths among children under age 5. The vast majority of these are preventable. No child should lose her or his chance to survive and thrive, especially so early in life.



Hawa Mustafa holds her 6-month-old daughter, Muna Ibrahim, at the Homosha health center, where four of her children were born, in Ethiopia's remote Benishangul-Gumuz region. "I'm grateful that they're alive," she says. Her first child, born at home, died almost immediately afterward. © UNICEF/UN0157425/Ayene



The number of women giving birth in health facilities has more than doubled in the region, due in part to a network of committed women who teach mothers about health services and how to care for their newborns. A support group meets at a UNICEF-supported health post in the Benishangul-Gumuz region. © UNICEF/UN0157434/Ayene



No child should lose their chance to survive and thrive so early in life — especially when the solutions needed to keep them alive and healthy exist. A doctor holds an antenatal session for pregnant women and their partners at the UNICEF-supported Rubare referral health center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. © UNICEF/UN0155619/Dubourthoumieu



A trained pair of hands can keep a newborn alive. Doctors, nurses and midwives provide a wide range of services during pregnancy, birth and beyond. Vinita Kalra, a nurse-midwife, performs an antenatal checkup during a home visit in Momodhan Village in Rajasthan State, India. © UNICEF/UNI47679/Khemka



Jamila Seid smiles as she looks at the ultrasound scan of her healthy fetus. She went to a UNICEF-supported health center in Homosha, Ethiopia when she no longer felt her unborn baby kicking. In the remote Benishangul-Gumuz region, health professionals are providing lifesaving services for mothers and babies. © UNICEF/UN0157421/Ayene



Malawi, a low-income country, has dramatically improved access to health services for mothers and newborns, and improved newborn survival. Midwife Dorothy Laina Palani washes, checks and weighs newborn Gertrude Shaibu in the maternity ward at Zomba Central Hospital in Zomba, Malawi. © UNICEF/UN0147852/Bosch/AFP



Kyrgyzstan has achieved amazing results in eradicating newborn mortality. Proven practices like Kangaroo Care (skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby) help improve a baby's chances of survival. Jiydegul's newborn son, Nurdan, is placed at her breast in Daroot Korgon Hospital. © UNICEF/UN0146980/Voronin



A baby born prematurely sleeps in Bishkek Maternity Hospital in Kyrgyzstan, where UNICEF works with the government to support training for hundreds of health care professionals, implement lifesaving medical protocols and supply crucial equipment to help premature babies survive. © UNICEF/UN0158030/Voronin



UNICEF is supporting the Government of India to reduce neonatal mortality and to save the lives of newborns and mothers in Maharashtra State. A medical professional monitors newborn babies in the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) at the Civil Hospital in Beed. © UNICEF/UN076848/Sharma



Dhanasri Rahul Kshirsagar, using the Kangaroo Care method, holds her one-day-old son close against her chest in the SNCU at the Beed Civil Hospital in Beed, India. The skin-to-skin contact helps improve a baby's breathing and heart rate. © UNICEF/UN076854/Sharma



Postnatal care and treatment, including immunizations, are among the services that help keep newborns alive. One-day-old Musa Mohammed receives oral polio vaccine at the UNICEF-supported Homosha district health center in Benishangul-Gumuz, Ethiopia. © UNICEF/UN0157417/Ayene



"We always need to be ready, regardless of the circumstances," says Dr. Baktygul Pakirova (right), who is being assisted by a midwife as she gives a healthy newborn baby his first checkup at Bishkek Maternity Hospital in Kyrgyzstan. "We are responsible for two lives: the life of the mother and of the child." © UNICEF/UN0146980/Voronin


Successes provide lessons for other countries committed to keeping every child alive. Just a few small steps from everyone can help ensure the first small steps of each of these young lives.



Keep every child alive



Top photo: An infant sleeps in the neonatal intensive care unit at the UNICEF-supported Assosa General Hospital in Benishangul-Gumuz, Ethiopia. © UNICEF/UN0157432/Ayene