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

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.

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.

Today, on World Prematurity Day, 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 for each of them.”

Survival and health outcomes of preterm newborns can be enhanced by increasing access to interventions provided to the mother shortly before or during birth as well as interventions for the newborn baby. However, the highest burden of preterm birth, death and disability is concentrated in low- and middle-income countries, where competent and specialized health workers are in short supply.  

Of the 30 million newborns who require inpatient care every year, approximately half do not have access to neonatal care services and those who have access often receive care of suboptimal quality. Skilled birth attendants, including medical doctors and midwives, are critical to the provision of high-quality newborn care and to improving newborn outcomes, not only at the time of birth and for routine postnatal care but also in health facilities to which mothers and newborns with complications are referred.

The new WHO roadmap consists of 10 strategies to guide countries in developing their policies to improve the number and competence of health workers to deliver high-quality essential care for all newborns and specialized care for small and sick newborns. It also aims to fill the gap in the numbers of health workers with specialized neonatal skills in low- and middle-income countries required to provide high-quality inpatient care for small and sick newborns.

Over the past three decades countries that have invested in their nursing and midwifery workforces have achieved sustained reductions in maternal and newborn mortality. With continued investments in universal access to high-quality newborn care an estimated 1.7 million newborns could be saved each year. Almost half of the effect would result from providing special and intensive hospital care for preterm, low-birth-weight or sick newborns.

 

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.

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.

Today, on World Prematurity Day, 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 for each of them.”

Survival and health outcomes of preterm newborns can be enhanced by increasing access to interventions provided to the mother shortly before or during birth as well as interventions for the newborn baby. However, the highest burden of preterm birth, death and disability is concentrated in low- and middle-income countries, where competent and specialized health workers are in short supply.  

Of the 30 million newborns who require inpatient care every year, approximately half do not have access to neonatal care services and those who have access often receive care of suboptimal quality. Skilled birth attendants, including medical doctors and midwives, are critical to the provision of high-quality newborn care and to improving newborn outcomes, not only at the time of birth and for routine postnatal care but also in health facilities to which mothers and newborns with complications are referred.

The new WHO roadmap consists of 10 strategies to guide countries in developing their policies to improve the number and competence of health workers to deliver high-quality essential care for all newborns and specialized care for small and sick newborns. It also aims to fill the gap in the numbers of health workers with specialized neonatal skills in low- and middle-income countries required to provide high-quality inpatient care for small and sick newborns.

Over the past three decades countries that have invested in their nursing and midwifery workforces have achieved sustained reductions in maternal and newborn mortality. With continued investments in universal access to high-quality newborn care an estimated 1.7 million newborns could be saved each year. Almost half of the effect would result from providing special and intensive hospital care for preterm, low-birth-weight or sick newborns.

Link to new roadmap 

 

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Your Right To A Better World

Rab Nov 18 , 2020
<p></p><p> </p><h3 role="heading">Health is a human right, and tactics learned from the human rights movement can help ensure every person access to the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. </h3><p><strong>WHO, HRP and partners present a new documentary series about the power of people to change the world.</strong> </p><p>Every individual on the planet has the right to the highest standard of health and well-being in all aspects of their sexuality, their body and their reproductive choices – but there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy for making this a reality.  </p><p><em><strong>Right To A Better World</strong></em> is a documentary video series produced by WHO and HRP, in partnership with UN Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Oxford Human Rights Hub (OxHRH). It explores how tactics developed by the human rights movement can be used to achieve sexual and reproductive health rights, and drive meaningful progress towards the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. </p><p>“<strong>A human rights-based approach to health is essential to achieving my top priority as DG – universal health coverage</strong>,” <a href="https://www.who.int/life-course/news/who-unhcr-agreement-on-health-and-human-rights/en/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">said WHO Director-General</a> Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, when he signed the 2017 <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/WRGS/Pages/AgreementSignedBetweenWHOAndUNHRAgency.aspx#:~:text=The%20WHO-OHCHR%20Framework%20of,by%20existing%20human%20rights%20mechanisms." target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">WHO-OHCHR Framework of Cooperation</a>.  </p><p><em>Right To A Better</em><em> World</em> builds on this major milestone for health and human rights, affirming that rights holders and their experiences belong at the centre of every discussion and decision affecting them. </p><p>“The achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development hinges on the realization of human rights, which necessitates action across sectors and disciplines,” said Veronica Birga, Chief of Women's Human Rights and Gender Section of UN Human Rights. “The lessons in this series created through a multi-disciplinary partnership are invaluable and make it clear that securing rights for all, is not only the right way, but the smart way to achieve truly sustainable development.” </p><p>There are four 20-minute thematic episodes in Right To A Better World, all free to access:  <a href="https://www.who.int/health-topics/contraception#tab=tab_1" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">contraception</a> , <a href="https://www.who.int/health-topics/adolescent-health#tab=tab_1" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">comprehensive sexuality education</a>  <a href="https://www.who.int/health-topics/maternal-health#tab=tab_1" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">maternal mortality and morbidity</a> , and <a href="https://www.who.int/health-topics/violence-against-women#tab=tab_1" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">violence against women</a> .    </p><p>“This powerful series creates a unique synergy between academic and practical human rights approaches, vividly demonstrating the key role human rights can play when advocating for sexual and reproductive health rights in political, legal, and international forums,” said Professor Sandra Fredman, Director of OxHRH. </p><p>“The “Right to a Better World” series bridge the communicative divide between health and human rights practitioners, throwing the spotlight on the importance of addressing not only health outcomes but the underlying gender inequalities, stereotypes and structures,” adds Dr Meghan Campbell, Deputy Director at OxHRH. </p><p>Although health outcomes and the achievement of rights have improved for many across these core components of sexual and reproductive health, progress overall <a href="https://www.who.int/news/item/27-10-2020-beijing-25-where-are-we-now-and-where-do-we-go-next" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">remains fragile and uneven</a>.   </p><p>In each episode across the series, experts in health and human rights share their professional struggles and successes working on the frontline of communities worldwide. As advocates and activists, they represent a broad range of professional fields, ages, levels and backgrounds.  </p><p>The episodes can be watched at home, in groups and in classroom settings. Viewers are encouraged to learn from the experiences shared, and consider how tactics could be adapted to their own contexts.  </p><p>“<strong>Human rights are the key to ensuring every person has access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, and WHO and HRP are committed to mainstreaming human rights into health policies and programmes. Our partnership with UN Human Rights and OxHRH affirms that in the changing landscape of sexual and reproductive health, human rights must be heard as loudly as clinical and scientific research</strong>,” said Ian Askew, Director of the WHO Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research including HRP.  </p><p><strong>Join the conversation at #RightToABetterWorld.</strong>  </p><p> </p><hr><em>Right To A Better World </em><span>VIDEOS </span><p></p><p></p><hr><h3>Comprehensive sexuality education (episode 1 of 4) </h3><p>Building support and understanding of every young person’s right to education, health and well-being, in an inclusive and gender equal society. </p><h3> </h3><h3>Contraception (episode 2 of 4) </h3><p>Ensuring each woman's and adolescent’s right to make decisions about their reproductive health and future.</p><h3> </h3><h3>Maternal mortality and morbidity (episode 3 of 4) </h3><p>Ensuring every woman's and adolescent’s right to not only survive pregnancy and childbirth, but have a positive experience of this profound life event. </p><p> </p><h3>Violence against women (episode 4 of 4) </h3><p><span>Building a world in which women and girls are free from all forms of violence and discrimination.</span></p><p> </p>