Saving newborn lives
In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) programme of Save the Children, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Child Health Research Foundation organised a dissemination workshop to share the findings of three recently completed clinical trials conducted in Asia and African on treatment regimens of young infants aged 0-59 days old with signs of possible serious bacterial infection. The trials specifically studied the use of outpatient-based simple antibiotic regimens among young infants who need, but do not have access to, hospital-based treatment.
Global public health experts estimate that each year around 2.9 million newborns die in the first month of life and infection is one of the major causes of these deaths. Recent BDHS survey 2011 reveals that possible serious infection including pneumonia account for 37% of all newborn deaths in Bangladesh. Most of these deaths could be averted with timely treatment using appropriate antibiotics. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends hospitalisation and injectable antibiotics for at least 7 days to treat potentially serious newborn infections. Antibiotics should be started as soon as illness is detected in order to be effective. Unfortunately hospital treatment may not be accessible for sick newborns in many low-resource settings, especially outside of the major cities. Even when available, hospital-based treatment may not be acceptable or affordable for many families.