Saving Newborn Lives, A Global Conversation


Do you know almost 3 million newborns die worldwide every year? Do you know the most common causes of these infant deaths are infection, prematurity and birth asphyxia (when a baby’s brain gets little or no oxygen before, during or immediately after birth)?

It’s well known that hand washing is crucial in the prevention of transmitting illness-causing organisms during medical procedures and otherwise. Unfortunately, many healthcare providers frequently disregard this practice.

I’m sort of an obsessed hand washer. The first thing I do when my kids enter a bathroom, come in from the outdoors or from the car is begin my “wash your hands” crusade. I get a lot of eye rolls as you can imagine, but I persist. I’ve grown used to the proceeding lecture by my 18-year old son, indicating my hand washing routines actually work against nature, but I persevere.

That said, it’s hard for me to understand how an intervention as basic as hand washing can be forgotten or ignored. Proper hand washing alone can significantly reduce the number of infections and provide newborns with a greater chance of survival during the first month of life.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is leading the charge to raise awareness for the newborn health agenda by partnering with USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to host a four-day conference. The Global Newborn Health Conference will be hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 15 – 18, 2013. Learn more about the conference here.

Learn more about global newborn health at Impatient Optimists.

Join us to become part of the conversation. Help spread newborn health facts by following the Twitter hashtag #newborn2013 and following Dr. Gary Darmstadt at @gdarmsta and the Gates Foundation @gatesfoundation.

Retweet newborn health facts to your own twitter followers. Find great tweets by @SocialGoodMoms, ready to be retweeted directly from the blog post at:

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  1. says

    i’m guessing this statistic is a worldwide one. if so, we need to consider how many of the people involved don’t have running water.

    for us it is a 2 minute job, but not so for many of them! add to that the fact that often the running water they have is at varying levels of contaminated! usually it needs to be boiled…or more.

    we americans underestimate the luxuries we take for granted…like running water that is usually clean enough to drink without it being full of parasites or hepatitis (fecal contamination).

    sometimes a simple task for us isn’t so simple for the world-wide community. yes, it is important to wash hands. but what does the poor woman do who must walk a mile or more to carry water on her head? she probably won’t be “wasting” much water on hand-washing. too bad:(

  2. Jen L says

    It’s unbelievable how the simplest task that takes only 2 minutes can save many lives. Thank you for the information. I’m always learning something from your blogs! :-)