Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Child health

Daily, 7000 newborns die, despite decrease in under-five mortality

Elizabeth Wezena with babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in the Upper East region of Ghana.
UNICEF

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. At current trends, 60 million children will die before their fifth birthday between 2017 and 2030, half of them newborns, according to the report released by UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank and the Population Division of UNDESA which make up the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation.

WHO releases guidelines to address overweight and obesity in children

A mother feeds her infant child; Nepal.
2013 Valerie Caldas, Photoshare

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.

Nurturing care for early childhood development: a framework for action and results

10 September 2017 -- WHO, in collaboration with UNICEF, and supported by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, Child & Adolescent Health and the ECD Action Network is guiding a process to scale up action and results for early childhood development in collaboration with countries all other relevant stakeholders. This process will produce a nurturing care common framework which will guide policy, programme, and budget support at country level.

Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale – Launch in countries of the Lancet Series

The Lancet Series "Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale" is being presented at events in countries around the world. The Series highlights early childhood development at a time when it has been universally endorsed in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The Series emphasises “nurturing care”, especially of children below three years of age, and multi-sectoral interventions starting with health which can have wide reach to families and young children through health and nutrition.

World Immunization Week 24-30 April

The Indigenous Health Teams members check vaccine packaging, Brazil.
WHO/A. Zambrana

The journey of vaccines in Brazil. Thanks to a highly effective National Immunization Programme, most Brazilian parents can feel confident that their children will get the lifesaving vaccines they need – when they need them. Routine vaccination coverage in the country averages above 95% for most vaccines on the child immunization schedule every year – exceeding WHO’s recommendation of at least 90% coverage.

Environmental pollution kills 1.7 million children each year

Children playing on the beach at low tide in Hangan Village, Buka, Papua New Guinea
WHO/Y. Shimizu

6 March 2017 – Environmental risks cause more than 1 in 4 deaths in children aged under 5 years every year, according to 2 new reports from WHO. Children are especially vulnerable to pollution due to their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways. The most common causes of death – diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia – are preventable with safe water and clean cooking fuels.

Managing possible serious bacterial infection in young infants when referral is not feasible

A mother and her newborn child.
S Qazi

13 February 2017 -- Infections are responsible for about one fifth of the world’s annual 2.7 million neonatal deaths. In South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa about one quarter of all neonatal deaths are due to infections, Hospitalization and life-saving treatment for the sick infant may not be accessible, acceptable or affordable to families in settings with high newborn mortality. A new WHO/UNICEF Statement in support of 2015 WHO guidelines provides options for the use of simplified antibiotic regimens that are both safe and effective for outpatient treatment of clinical severe infection and fast-breathing pneumonia among young infants weighing at least 1.5 kg.

Investing in early childhood development essential

A father holds his young child.
WHO/D Rodriguez

5 October 2016 – An estimated 43% of children under 5 years of age in low- and middle-income countries – 249 million children – are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential, according to a new publication series from The Lancet. WHO contributed to the series, which reveals effective interventions that may cost as little as 50 US cents per child per year when combined with existing services.

World Immunization Week 2016: Close the immunization gap

24-30 April 2016 -- Immunization averts 2 to 3 million deaths annually. However, an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided, if global vaccination coverage improves. Today, nearly 1 in 5 children worldwide are still missing routine immunizations for preventable diseases. During World Immunization Week 2016, WHO highlights recent gains in immunization coverage, and outlines further steps needed to meet global vaccination targets by 2020.