Around the world, birth is a joyous occasion. The arrival of a newborn who is small or sick, however, often results in immediate worry and sadness. According to the latest estimates, up to 30 million newborns require some level of inpatient care each year. This includes newborns with complications from prematurity, intrapartum brain injury, severe bacterial infection or pathological jaundice, and those with congenital conditions. Substantial human potential for lifelong health and well-being is lost through neonatal mortality, disability and long-term disease. Furthermore, family members of small and sick newborns are at high risk of long-term psychological and financial problems. These, in turn, can have additional detrimental effects on a newborn’s developmental, social and cognitive growth.
A collaborative effort with the World Health Organization, this report highlights the need for investment in quality inpatient newborn care, including designated specialized facilities. It also makes the case for accurate and reliable data to help shape policy and to measure the impacts of inpatient care on these vulnerable newborns.