Washington – The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has launched a campaign to raise awareness and promote quality care for newborns during the first 28 days of life, which it said is the time during which the risk of infant mortality is highest.
The “28 Days, Time to Care and Love” campaign, which is being coordinated by PAHO’s Latin American Centre for Perinatology (CLAP), seeks to increase the knowledge, skills and self-confidence of mothers, fathers, families and caregivers of newborns, and also raise awareness among health professionals of the importance of good care practices to reduce neonatal mortality.
These practices include skin-to-skin contact, exclusive breastfeeding, keeping the umbilical cord clean and dry, and administering vitamin K at birth, among others.
PAHO said that in Latin America and the Caribbean, seven out of every 1 000 infants fail to reach their one-month birthday. In Latin America and the Caribbean, 255 babies age less than one-month die each day.
It said this rate varies from 1.7 infants in Aruba and 2.3 in Cuba, to 18 in the Dominican Republic and 32 in Haiti. Most of these deaths are preventable yet account for nearly half of all deaths during the first year of life.
“Universal access to timely and quality care for mothers and newborns, as well as family involvement in the care of infants, are critical for babies to survive and thrive,” stated Dr Pablo Durán, PAHO’s regional advisor on perinatal health.
As part of the campaign, PAHO will share 28 key messages and testimonies related to newborn care every day throughout February.
PAHO will also launch an app with guidance on infant care for parents, families, caregivers and health workers, as well as a ten-step document for decision makers to facilitate the development of policies to improve newborn health in the Americas. (CMC)