The first 28 days of a baby’s life should be a time of joy. Yet the first month of life – and especially the day of birth – carries the highest risk of death for both mothers and their newborns. Globally, 2.7 million newborns die each year, and 2.6 million babies are stillborn. More than 80 percent of the total mortality burden results from three preventable and treatable conditions: preterm birth, infections, and complications during childbirth.

The Millennium Development Goal era saw rapid declines in maternal and child mortality, and the number of newborn deaths has also decreased from 5.1 million in 1990 to 2.7 million in 2015. However, newborn mortality declined at a slower pace than under-5 mortality as a whole. As a result, the proportion of newborn deaths among all under-5 deaths is now 45 percent, up from 40 percent in 1990. Newborn deaths and stillbirths are preventable with proven, cost-effective interventions, ranging from improved quality of antenatal care, to skilled care around the time of birth, to ensuring delivery of essential care for newborns.

Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) program, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a globally recognized leader in newborn health and a respected voice in countries. SNL seeks to support countries in achieving equitable and effective coverage of high-impact newborn services and practices at scale.

This seminar featured SNL experts and provided an overview of the field of newborn health, and shared the latest information about essential newborn care interventions that are proven to reduce newborn mortality, such as Kangaroo Mother Care and Chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care. SNL gave an up-to-date overview of stillbirths and how they can best can be addressed and present a case study from Kushtia in Bangladesh, showing how to effectively implement and scale up newborn health projects to achieve results.