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Advocacy: Global Newborn Health #newborn2013

It has been 15 years since I gave birth to my baby boy - Jean-Sijent. Friends and readers know how often I talk about him on and about the advises (aka warnings) I love to discuss here. 

Everything happens for a reason they say but back in 1996 when I had a miscarriage with my first baby, I did not believe that at first. It was only after my doctor discovered an ovarian cyst and realized I needed a surgery did I believe. After less than a year, I got pregnant again despite the fact that my ob-gynecologist said I was not that fertile enough. Because of my situation, I was really very careful and I was taken care of really well by Dr. Anne Goingo. I was lucky that she gave me all the time and attention because there were complications on my part. And most importantly, my son was born healthy and without complications.

Not all newborns are fortunate to be born that way. Unfortunately for my brother, he and my sister-in-law had some problems with their 2nd baby. On the 3rd day, my nephew D was operated on because there was blood leaking in his brain. Until now, he is under medication, under physical therapy, and worse, every time he gets sick his doctor has to monitor his situation with tests that can be painful like a spinal tap. The beauty of it is he is alive and oh-so-adorable. And he is living in a country where topnotch healthcare is available.

What happened to D was not only painful for us but also surprising. The first thing my brother asked me was to research if we had anything like that in our medical history, which I found out we did not have. It was then that I realized that there is so much that we need to know about newborn health. According to Cyril Engmann and Dr. Gary Darmstadt in  the article on Impatients Optimists, there are some newborn health facts we are not aware of such as:
  • Nearly 3 million newborns die each year globally.
  • 99% of these newborns die in low- and middle-income countries. 
  • A newborn is 45X times more likely to die in the first month of life, when compared to age 1 month to 5 years.
  • The major causes of newborn death are prematurity, infection, and birth asphyxia when a baby’s brain and other organs do not get enough oxygen before, during or right after birth. 
  • Complications of preterm birth are the second leading cause of death in children before their fifth birthday.
  • The majority of these newborn deaths can be prevented.
There is a need a discuss and promote the global newborn health agenda. As part of the need to raise awareness and visibility of the newborn health agenda, several individuals from around the world will gather on April 15-18  for The Global Newborn Health Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, which is just a part of a larger, ongoing conversation on newborn health to generate action.

We need to know more, and we need to let others know more about this. More importantly, we can do something. We can get involved, we can join the conversation.

How to get involve?

  • Read more about the Global Newborn Health Conference at
  • Connect with conference anytime. Streaming live on the web at:
  • Join the conversation on Twitter. Follow and use official conference hashtag (#newborn2013) and don't forget to retweet
  • Follow Gary Darmstadt (@gdarmsta) – Director of the Family Health Division of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation @gatesfoundation.
  • Share the facts you learn about newborn health.
  • Leave comments and ask questions on Facebook
  • Access all conference presentations and resources here.
The Gates Foundation is working with USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) program and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in hosting this four-day conference.

Disclosure: This post was written for Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health. No form of compensation was received for this post.

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