Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Giving Babies A Voice: Speaking Out for Newborn Health

April 08, 2013

This post was originally published on the blog, Cora's Story, and is part of our focus on global newborn health this month. To mark the critical first 28 days of a newborn’s life–the neonatal period (when a baby is most at risk)– in the lead up to the Global Newborn Health Conference, foundation director of family health, Gary Darmstadt, and others will be sharing, via Twitter, 28 days of “Did You Know?” facts about newborn health. Follow @gdarmsta, share the facts widely using #Newborn2013 and we can work towards saving newborn lives together. And check out the Advocating for Newborn Health Tumblr as well.

Each year, 3 million newborns die.

In 2009, my newborn was one of them.

Coraandmom

It makes me physically ill to think that not only was she not alone, she was one of an estimated 3 million newborns to die that year.

Three million mothers losing their newborn each and every day.

I’m not the best with math, but my quick calculations, that’s 8,219 newborns dying each and every day. Almost the size of the town where Cora was born being wiped out before they even get a chance. 342 babies every hour. Five babies every single minute. As I type this sentence, a mother is losing her baby, somewhere. I wish I could give her a big hug.

Instead, I’ve decided to dedicate my life, and Cora’s short life, to making it happen less. You’ve read a lot on this blog about congenital heart defects, the top killer of infants from birth defects, and I’ll always work to spread the word about CHD and how we can save babies with broken hearts.

But, whatever the cause, where ever the baby and mother, I want it to stop.

Did you know that mothers in Ethopia don’t even name their newborns for the first month because death at that age is so common there?

Can you imagine?

Really. I know you don’t want to imagine. Who logs onto the Internet and wants to read about babies dying?

I’m glad that you’re taking the time to read this because until we all face up to the issue, it won’t change. We have to talk about it. As painful and awful as it is.

Later this month, a group of public health officials, doctors, nurses, parent advocates and others will come together to talk about what’s work, brainstorm new solutions and improve the health of newborns.

The Global Newborn Health Conference kicks off April 15 in South Africa. The conference is supported by Save the Children. MCHIP, Gates Foundation, USAID and UNICEF.

advocating for newborn health

As part of my work with the Global Team of 200, I’m writing this post. I’m taking it one step further.

April will be “Newborn Health Month” on this blog.

Please share what I have to say.

These are our babies. Our most important resource. If we can’t save them from preventable death, no matter where they are born, what does that say about us as a society?

I ask you to take one tiny baby step today to help spread the word about the crisis newborns around the globe are facing, and to help save tiny lives.

Please help by:

1. Sharing this post.

2. Following the #Newborn2013 hashtag on Twitter and RTing what you learn.

3. Not shying away from my posts this month. Please, please stay with me.

 
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