WHO launches new roadmap on human resource strategies to ensure that all newborns survive and thrive

Asha Bajaj
3 min readNov 21, 2020

#WHO; #NewBornsHealth; #WorldPrematurityDay; #RoadMapLaunched

WHO/Canadian-Media: Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm — before 37 weeks of pregnancy. That is more than 1 in 10 live births. Approximately 1 million children die each year worldwide due to complications from their early birth. Those that survive often face a lifetime of ill-health including disability, learning difficulties, and visual and hearing problems.

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Half of the babies born at or below 32 weeks (2 months early) die in low-income settings, due to a lack of feasible, cost-effective care, such as warmth, breastfeeding support, and basic care for infections and breathing difficulties. In high-income countries, almost all these babies survive.

On World Prematurity Day observed on Nov 17, WHO launched a new Roadmap on human resource strategies to improve newborn care in health facilities in low- and middle-income countries, aimed at improving quality of care for newborns, including small and sick babies, and supporting countries to achieve the SDG target to reduce neonatal mortality to less than 12 per 1000 live births by 2030.

As the COVID-19 pandemic overburdens already weak health systems in many countries, it is expected to increase the number of newborn deaths, particularly among babies born too soon. Disrupted essential health services, like family planning or antenatal check-ups, will leave women more at risk of preterm birth and vulnerable infants without the services they need.

“We have the power to prevent, diagnose and treat preterm birth, and save babies lives, if we invest in competent and specialized nurses and health workers to care for them,” Dr. Anshu Banerjee, WHO Director for the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health and Ageing. “As more pregnant women give birth in health facilities, we must also strengthen our health workforce to provide a positive pregnancy experience

Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women