Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

A collage of images representing maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health.

Year in Review 2017

22 December 2017 – This review of activities by WHO's Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health includes a range of activities from country implementation guidance for adolescent health, the establishemnt of a Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, a report on the global implementation of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI), the development of a nurturing care framework for early child development, an evidence map of social, behavioural and community engagement interventions to new guidelines on child overweight and obesity.

A graphic saying End Violence Against Women.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

25 November 2017 -- This important event is marked by individuals and organizations worldwide to raise awareness about this global issue and to take a stand to counter violence against women and girls. It is followed by 16 days of activism against gender based violence, which culminate on the 10th December, Human Rights Day. During this time, people are encouraged to wear orange, and buildings are lit up in the same colour, to symbolise a future without violence.

A mother feeds her preterm newborns.

World Prematurity Day - "Let them thrive"

17 November 2017 -- World Prematurity Day is an opportunity to call attention to the heavy burden of death and disability and the pain and suffering that preterm birth causes, as well as a chance to talk about solutions. This year the theme is "Let them thrive," focusing on quality, equity and dignity. On this day, WHO, UNICEF and PATH have released a policy statement on ensuring equitable access to human milk for all infants

A group of women meeting at a rally.

An evidence map to better target research on social, behavioural and community engagement interventions for women’s and children’s health

6 November 2017 -- WHO, 3ie and PMNCH have launched an evidence map and online tool to make available existing research on the effectiveness of social, behavioural and community engagement interventions for improving women’s and children’s health. It shows though there is a considerable body of evidence from which we can draw upon for lessons learned, there are still significant gaps in the evidence base.

OXFAM East Africa/J Ferguson
A young girl seated.

Responding to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused

20 October 2017 – The sexual abuse of children and adolescents is a gross violation of their human rights and a global public health problem. Millions of children and adolescents are subjected to sexual abuse with devastating consequences for their health and well-being which often last into adulthood. Adolescents and children who have been sexually abused have specific needs, different from adults. In recognition of this, WHO has published evidence-based recommendations which specifically help health workers to provide quality clinical care to children and adolescents who have survived sexual abuse.

A midwife assists a mother to breastfeed her infant.

7 000 newborns die every day, despite steady decrease in under-five mortality, new report says

19 October 2017– Every day in 2016, 15 000 children died before their fifth birthday, 46% of them – or 7000 babies – died in the first 28 days of life. Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017, reveals that although the number of children dying before the age of five is at a new low – 5.6 million in 2016, compared with nearly 9.9 million in 2000 – the proportion of under-five deaths in the newborn period has increased from 41% to 46% during the same period.

A mother feeds her infant - Nepal.

WHO releases guidelines to address overweight and obesity in children

4 October 2017 – As part of its response to the global epidemic of obesity, WHO is today releasing guidelines to support primary healthcare workers identify and help children who are overweight or obese. In 2016 an estimated 41 million children under 5 were affected by overweight or obesity. Without effective treatment they are very likely to remain overweight and obese throughout their lives, putting them at risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and premature death, as well as suffering physical and psychological consequences in childhood.

2013 Valerie Caldas, Photoshare

A woman with her baby wrapped close to her chest per Kangaroo Mother Care

Improving maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health through evidence based guidelines and guidance.

A father looks into the face of a newborn.

Generating high quality epidemiological information and monitoring and evaluation data to strengthen the uptake and implementation of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health guidelines, policies and programmes.

A midwife with a mother and newborn.

Quality of care means safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable and people-centred health care.

Quick facts banner.

Factsheets and infographics


Contact us

Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MCA)
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27

Tel.: +41 22 791 3281
Fax: +41 22 791 4853