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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid