News / Health

Health Experts Attend Global Conference on Infant Mortality

Health Experts Attend Global Conference on Infant Mortalityi
X
April 18, 2013 1:56 PM
Three million newborns die each year, most of them in the developing world. Experts say most of these deaths are easily preventable, and have met at a conference in South Africa to develop a global plan to reverse this trend. More from VOA's Anita Powell in Johannesburg.
Three million newborns die each year, most of them in the developing world. Experts say most of these deaths are easily preventable.
Anita Powell
Three million newborns die each year, most of them in the developing world.  Experts say most of these deaths are easily preventable, and have met at the Global Newborn Health Conference in South Africa to develop a global plan to reverse this trend. 

When Kelvin was born, his 21-year-old mother said she had no clue how to care for an infant - let alone two, since Kelvin has an identical twin, Ken. It has not been easy, said their mother, Thokozani Mkandawire. But at a clinic in inner-city Johannesburg, health workers are teaching mothers like her how to care for and protect their infants.

Three million newborns die each year, most of them within their first week of life. Most deaths are caused by prematurity, infections or birth complications.

The biggest tragedy in that, experts say, is that most of those deaths can be easily prevented.

Medical and aid officials gathered in Johannesburg this week for the conference dedicated to developing strategies to save more newborns.

Dr. Gary Darmstadt of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation says there are several simple and inexpensive practices that could save the majority of these babies. "Things like exclusive breastfeeding.  Things like, skin-to-skin care, holding the baby close with the baby against your skin.  Mothers can do it, fathers can do it, aunts can do it, neighbors can do it," he explained. "It provides the baby warmth, cuts down on infections, stimulates breastfeeding.  Things as simple as washing your hands.”

Many mothers in South Africa already carry their babies on their bodies.

Mary Kinney of Save the Children practices a similar technique, called Kangaroo Mother Care, with 10-week-old Reuben. “Kangaroo Mother Care puts the [baby coos] baby and mother skin-to-skin, so he wouldn’t be wearing his little jersey and I wouldn’t be wearing a top.  And it provides thermal care, so it provides warmth for him and it also promotes exclusive breastfeeding for nutritional purposes.  And it also makes me more aware of my baby," she stated. "So I can identify early signs of infection to seek care, and in fact it reduces mortality for preterm babies by 50 percent.  So it’s proven better than incubator care for preterm babies.”

Experts who attended the conference from more than 50 countries are hoping their recommendations will see infants safely into childhood.  

It’s a huge task, and involves many sectors of government, not just health. But the effort will help millions of children to grow and flourish.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More