Home visits for the newborn child: a strategy to improve survival
WHO/UNICEF Joint Statement
Every year, about 3.7 million babies die in the first four weeks of life (2004 estimates). Most of these newborns are born in developing countries and most die at home. Up to two-thirds of these deaths can be prevented if mothers and newborns receive known, effective interventions. A strategy that promotes universal access to antenatal care, skilled birth attendance and early postnatal care will contribute to sustained reduction in maternal and neonatal mortality.
While both mothers and newborns need care during the period after birth, this Statement focuses on the care of the newborn child, and the evidence for the same. Studies have shown that home-based newborn care interventions can prevent 30–60% of newborn deaths in high mortality settings under controlled conditions. Therefore, WHO and UNICEF now recommend home visits in the baby’s first week of life to improve newborn survival.
This Joint Statement includes information on how to care for the newborn child at home, specific recommendations for countries, and next steps.