The State of the World’s Children 2009: Maternal and Newborn Health

In December 2008, UNICEF released The State of the World’s Children 2009, a publication which “examines the current state of maternal and neonatal health, explores the fundamentals of a supportive environment for mothers and newborns, and outlines ways to strengthen efforts in support of primary health care.” This year, the report highlights the importance of linking of maternal and newborn care as well as the need for strengthened health systems that work collaboratively. The report focusses mainly on the continents of Africa and Asia,  complementing the 2007 report which focussed on the topic of child survival. The report raises many interesting issues with regards to the state of child and maternal health today. According to the report, women in the world’s least developed countries are 300 times more likely to die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications than women in developed countries. This statistic highlights the importance of sexual and reproductive health rights and services in many of the world’s developing countries. Women are often unable to access – and sometimes unable to afford – health care services and systems. Furthermore, in many developing countries the policies of the past focussed more on population control than addressing the perspective of sexual and reproductive health and rights. As a result, the systems and services that exist in these areas are often under-developed or weak. The report also states that children born in developing country’s are almost 14 times more likely to die in their first month of life, comparend to children born in developed countries. As indicated by this research, and from the growing research and discussion in the field, the health and survival of mothers and their newborns are linked. and many of the interventions that save new mothers’ lives also benefit their infants. The State of the World’s Children highlights these links between maternal and neonatal survival, and suggests opportunities to close the gap between rich and poor countries. It argues that while many developing countries have made progress towards improving their child survival rates, there has been less progress in reducing maternal mortality. The crucial link is recognizing that health risks for mothers is highest  during delivery and in the first days after birth. Even though the rate of survival for children under five years of age is improving, the risks faced by infants in the first 28 days remain at unacceptably high levels in many countries. Strengthening the provision of neo-natal care and supporting the health of mothers during and immediately prior to child birth ought to be addressed and prioritized in countries worldwide.



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Equity for Children participated in the series of talks organized by MUNA-UNICEF Argentina to promote the exchange of knowledge and experiences among municipalities on various topics related to the rights of children and adolescents.

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