Even the poorest countries facing the most difficult circumstances – including poverty, armed conflict, natural disaster or complex emergencies involving displaced populations, food insecurity and disease – can take proactive steps to boost maternal, newborn and child health.
While investment is undoubtedly a factor in preventing unnecessary deaths, the examples below offer proof of how much can be achieved using extremely limited resources.
The key to all of these victories is community knowledge, involvement and empowerment.
Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses in India
Throughout the 1990s, while India made marked progress in reducing the under-five mortality rate, this positive trend did not apply to deaths during the neonatal period – or the first 28 days of a child’s life.
By 2000, neonatal deaths accounted for two-thirds of all infant deaths in the country, and around 45 per cent of under-five deaths.
Many of these deaths could be averted if parents recognized warning signs, adopted appropriate feeding practices or had access to skilled health workers and facility-based care.
The additional cost of introducing the newborn component of this programme is just US$0.10 per child.
In 2000, the Government of India adapted the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) strategy to focus greater attention on neonatal care by strengthening the health-system infrastructure, enhancing health workers’ skills and promoting community participation.
In practice, this means introducing a number of services – such repeat home visits for newborns, community education and follow-up procedures for low birth weight babies – at minimal cost.
For more on child survival in India, see also: