A Dramatically Effective Save the Children Study Proves Newborn Mortality Can Be Cut by One-third-
Hundreds Saved in Bangladesh, Potentially Millions Worldwide
The home-based care strategy resulted in a one-third (34 percent) reduction in newborn mortality in study areas. David Oot, Associate Vice-President of the Department of Health and Nutrition at Save the Children commented, "This study demonstrated that a package of basic, low-cost services and education, delivered through community health workers and the active engagement of other community members, can save newborn lives, and improve the lives of thousands of families."
For the home-based care strategy Health workers were recruited locally and received six weeks of training before visiting families in their districts. They made two home visits to expectant mothers, where they emphasized the importance of:
Taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid
Selecting a clean place for the mothers to give birth
Using a sterile blade to cut the baby's umbilical cord
Breastfeeding immediately after birth
Keeping the newborn warm
They also advised new mothers and familes to seek appropriate care for signs of maternal and newborn illnesses, delay bathing the infant to avoid hypothermia and continue breastfeeding exclusively.
Families in the home-based care group also received three follow-up visits after the birth, on days 1, 3 and 7, when health workers were able to assess the health of the newborn, identify infants who were ill, provide initial treatment of infections and refer families to hospitals or complete the course of antibiotics for families opting for home-based treatment.
Dr. Uzma Syed, Asia Regional Advisor for Newborn Health at Save the Children's Saving Newborn Lives program, said, "The evidence collected here will help us tailor our work in Bangladesh and around the world, making it possible to help many more families."
Photo Caption: A mother and her 7-day-old child receive a home visit.
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