Every Newborn Action Plan Endorsed by the World Health Assembly

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By: Katie Millar, Technical Writer, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Last week newborn health gained critical attention and commitment. On May 24th, 2014 the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) was endorsed by all 194 member-states of the World Health Assembly (WHA). This is a major milestone for maternal and newborn health, one that was accomplished through tireless research and advocacy.

The ENAP addresses the fact that progress on newborn survival has been 40% slower than that for maternal mortality and child mortality since 1990. Currently 44% of under-five child deaths occur in the neonatal period, or first month of life. In order to address these preventable deaths, the ENAP has set five strategic objectives:

  1. Strengthen and invest in care during labour, birth and the first day and week of life
  2. Improve the quality of maternal and newborn care
  3. Reach every woman and every newborn; reduce inequities
  4. Harness the power of parents, families, and communities
  5. Count every newborn—measurement, programme-tracking and accountability

The successful endorsement of the ENAP was due to combined efforts from researchers, advocates, global health leaders, and donors. Last week we reported that the Lancet’s Every Newborn series was launched in conjunction with the 67th annual WHA to bring attention to the ENAP. In addition, a special event was held in New York City by UNICEF to launch the Lancet’s Every Newborn series (watch here). Melinda Gates, a champion of newborn health, also delivered a plenary speech at the WHA to bring attention to newborn health and the ENAP. In addition, a breakfast for ministers, community engagement breakfast, and technical briefing were held at the WHA to bring together member-states and promote the needs of the newborn. Stay tuned as the final ENAP will be launched at the Partners’ Forum in Johannesburg on June 30th by PMNCH Chair and A Promise Renewed Ambassador Graça Machel. At this unveiling the final ENAP will be presented along with a set of concrete, measurable commitments from stakeholders in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and Every Woman Every Child.

To read the official press release on the endorsement visit PMNCH and the Every Newborn websites.

–          Every Newborn Brief
–          Overview of Every newborn (PowerPoint)
–          Draft action plan—Every newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths

What are you doing in your country to reduce neonatal deaths and improve newborn health? Want to share your work in a blog post? Please contact Katie Millar.