Each year, 2.8 million infants around the world do not survive their first month of life, and one million do not even survive their first 24 hours.
The primary causes of these newborn deaths include problems arising from premature birth, complications during labor and delivery, and newborn infections.1 Up to two-thirds of newborn deaths could be prevented if key health interventions were provided at birth and during the first week of life.2 Most of these deaths occur in developing countries, where only 13 percent of infants receive postnatal care in the first 24 hours after birth.3
USAID’s Health Research Program improves the chances of newborns surviving to one month by increasing access to well-known, cost-effective practices that have been proven to save lives. Community-based approaches empower families to care for newborns with simple preventative actions. These approaches link communities to facilities, strengthen health systems, train health providers, and improve the quality of care in health facilities. One area the Health Research Program is focusing on is management of Possible Serious Bacterial Infections (PSBI) or newborn sepsis, when referral is not possible.
Possible Serious Bacterial Infections (PSBI)
One area the Health Research Program is focusing on is management of Possible Serious Bacterial Infections (PSBI) or newborn sepsis, when referral is not possible.
Sepsis accounts for 23 percent of newborn deaths in developing countries.4 The Health Research Program’s efforts around management of PSBI at the facility level illustrate the research-to-use process. In previous years, the Health Research Program helped accelerate global policy change and country level action for the treatment of PSBI in newborns. This was accomplished through convening stakeholders to support clinical trials for simpler treatment regimens and conducting research to understand how to reach newborns outside of clinics in low-resource settings. Based on these studies, WHO released new guidelines on the treatment of PSBI in 2015 and convened meetings in several countries to orient policy makers and select local implementation sites. With funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO established technical support units in seven countries in Africa and Asia.
Building on these efforts, the Health Research Program issued an Addendum to the Global Health Broad Agency Announcement in August 2016, soliciting Expressions of Interest for implementation research to support introduction of of the simplified regimen in real-world settings. Awards are anticipated in the summer of 2017. Further information about our achievements in expanding coverage of PSBI treatment can be found on our Impact page.
To learn more about how the Health Research Program works to reduce newborn mortality please visit our project pages. You can also learn more about USAID’s overall efforts to improve newborn health here.
1USAID: Newborn Health
2Save the Children: Ending Newborn Deaths
3WHO: Newborns: Reducing mortality
4Liu L, Oza S, Hogan D, et. al. Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in 2000-13, with projections to inform post-2015 priorities: an updated systematic analysis. Lancet. 2015 Jan 31;385(9966):430-40. Figure 1 Source: http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/topics/child/mortality/en/