It is well recognised that much less progress has been made in reducing neonatal deaths (occurring between 0-28 days of life) than either childhood or maternal deaths.
Of all under 5 deaths in 2013, it was estimated that 31.9% occurred in the early neonatal period (0-6 days) and 9.7% in the late neonatal period (7-28 days). The major causes of neonatal deaths are prematurity (34%), intra-partum complications including birth asphyxia (24%) and infection (22%). Low birth weight, due to prematurity and/or intra-uterine growth retardation, underlies >80% of all neonatal deaths.
Reducing neonatal mortality will required improved facility-based care of preterm and low birthweight infants. We are exploring novel interventions to reduce mortality in vulnerable newborns with partners at University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria and at the Federal University of Sergipe, Brazil.