Newborn Health

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In the African Region, 1.12 million neonatal deaths occur annually, accounting for about a quarter of all under-five deaths. Up to half a million African babies die on the day they are born - most at home and uncounted for. Half of Africa's newborn deaths occur in just five countries - Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda. Nigeria alone accounts for over 255000 newborn deaths each year. The Millennium Development Goal for child survival will not be achieved unless a considerable number of these deaths are prevented. Saving these lives would take only an estimated extra U$ 1.39 per capita per year.

Up to 70% of neonatal deaths can be prevented by known effective interventions. Solutions exist - e.g. up to 800 000 newborn lives could be saved each year in Africa if 90 % of women and babies received feasible, low-cost health interventions. These include immunizing women against tetanus, providing a skilled attendance at birth, treating newborn infections promptly and educating mothers about hygiene, warmth and breastfeeding for infants.