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Skip to 0 minutes and 15 secondsJOY LAWN: Welcome to week 4 of the course. My name is Joy Lawn, and I work at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Here, I'm a professor of maternal, reproductive, and child health, everything except the baby. But this week, we will be studying newborns and stillbirths. And I have actually spent most of the last couple of decades working both on data, but also on programmes, particularly in Africa. In fact, I spent most of my life in Africa and had my birth in the bush of northern Uganda, and will share that story with you. So far in the course, we've looked at adolescents with the mantra that every adolescent should have a healthy transition to adulthood.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 secondsWe have looked at reproductive health with the mantra that every birth should be wanted. We've looked at maternal health with the mantra that every woman who is pregnant should have a healthy pregnancy and a safe birth. And now, we turn to the baby. For that baby, they should also be able to be born alive, born at the right time, and thrive. And yet, as we turn to this topic, newborns are still newborn on the global agenda. Just very recent that this huge number, almost three million, have come to global attention. As we enter the Sustainable Development Goals, stillbirths-- again, almost three million deaths remain stillborn on the global agenda.

Skip to 1 minute and 44 secondsStill no targets and goals, and yet new data that really shows the importance of that. So in this week, we will be looking at how many deaths there are and what the targets are to change this for 2030. We'll be looking at the data that will help us to accelerate progress. So where do these deaths occur, why, when, and what can be done differently? We'll be particularly focusing on preterm birth, which is now the leading cause not just of newborn death, but of child deaths worldwide. How can we prevent? How come we treat? What can be done differently? What are the research questions?

Skip to 2 minutes and 27 secondsThen, we will look at the Every Newborn Action Plan, a country led, massive momentum for change both for newborns and stillbirth. We'll consider a number of countries that have made remarkable progress against the odds, with a particular focus on Peru. And then we'll end up by saying, what can you do? What can I do? What are the research questions? What are the data questions? We really look forward to your active engagement in this module and to learning together what we can do differently for newborns and stillbirths around the world.

Welcome to Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 of the course, titled ‘Newborns and Stillbirths’. I’m Professor Joy Lawn, Director of the MARCH Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and leader for this week of the course.

In terms of the global agenda, newborns are just that: newborn on the global agenda. As such, this is an exciting time with increasing momentum and potential for major progress if we act on the data we have. Stillbirths, on the other hand, remain invisible, or stillborn on the global agenda. What can be done differently to ensure that progress for preventing neonatal deaths and stillbirths catches up with that for maternal and child mortality?

What will we learn?

By the end of this week you should be able to:

  • Recognise where newborns and stillbirths fit in the global health agenda
  • Understand where, when and why neonatal deaths and stillbirths occur
  • Consider the latest data to inform decision-making.

Structure and content

The week will start by defining the relevant epidemiological terms, examining the latest numbers of neonatal deaths and stillbirths, and look forward to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets of 2030. We’ll look at the data on where, when, and why these deaths occur, and how trends can inform and accelerate progress.

Activities will then reflect on preterm birth, the leading cause of child death, in more detail, looking at what we can do to prevent it and the controversies around management of preterm labour. We’ll look to the future and how evidence links to policy and political change, highlighting the Every Newborn Action Plan, and end by exploring the successes of Peru, a country that has more than halved newborn deaths during the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

We hope you find the week stimulating and very much look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

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This video is from the free online course:

Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine