Saving Newborn Lives, A Global Conversation

Impatient Optimists
Do you know almost 3 million newborns die world-wide every year? Do you know the most common causes of these newborn deaths are infection, prematurity and birth asphyxia (when a baby’s brain gets little or no oxygen before, during or immediately after birth)?

It’s well known that hand washing is crucial in the prevention of transmitting illness-causing organisms during medical procedures and otherwise. Unfortunately, many healthcare providers frequently disregard this practice.

I’m sort of an obsessed hand washer. The first thing I do when my kids enter a bathroom, come in from the outdoors or from the car is begin my “wash your hands” crusade. I get a lot of eye rolls as you can imagine, but I persist. I’ve grown used to the proceeding lecture by my 18-year old son, indicating my hand washing routines actually work against nature, but I persevere.

That said, it’s hard for me to understand how an intervention as basic as hand washing can be forgotten or ignored. Proper hand washing alone can significantly reduce the number of infections and provide newborns with a greater chance of survival during the first month of life.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is leading the charge to raise awareness for the newborn health agenda by partnering with USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to host a four-day conference. The Global Newborn Health Conference will be hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 15 – 18, 2013. Learn more about the conference here.

Learn more about global newborn health at Impatient Optimists.

Join us to become part of the conversation. Help spread newborn health facts by following the twitter hashtag #newborn2013 and following Dr. Gary Darmstadt at @gdarmsta and the Gates Foundation @gatesfoundation.

Retweet newborn health facts to your own twitter followers. Find great tweets by @SocialGoodMoms, ready to be retweeted directly from the blog post at:

You can also retweet these directly from this post:

  • Lisa Cash Hanson

    I think when I hear of any baby dying it’s heartbreaking. So any group that raises awareness is a wonderful thing. I make Matilda wash her hands too :)

    • Kelli Nelson

      I can’t imagine being in those shoes, losing a newborn. It must be tragically heartbreaking. Matilda’s such a cutie!

  • Becky

    How crazy that something that simple can save millions of lives. We wash hands in this house!

    • Kelli Nelson

      Unbelievably crazy! :)

  • Lisa Ladrido

    I worked in Neonatal Intensive Care Units most of my career. I loved it. One of my smallest patients was 12 ounces and she went home at 4.5 pounds. Luckily in most cases we were able to take care of the same babies all the way through as the primary nurse. Although we were very diligent with hand washing and aseptic techniques, premature babies still were susceptible to infections because of their fragile immune system. It is so sad to see them sick. For the parents and family it is devastating. I am glad they are working globally for this cause.

    • Kelli Nelson

      You are exactly what these babies need, Lisa. You rock!

  • Krystyn

    So very sad…their little immune systems just aren’t ready for the world yet.

    • Kelli Nelson

      It is sad. I’m grateful so many are out there spreading the word to reduce the numbers.

  • Pingback: Key Tweets From the Global Newborn Health Conference – Mom Bloggers for Social Good()

  • Jen L

    It’s unbelievable how the simplest task that takes only 2 minutes can save many lives. Thank you for the information. I’m always learning something from your blogs! :-)

    • Kelli Nelson

      Yay! Glad you can take something away from here. Thank you for commenting on this topic. :)

  • Martha Brady

    i’m guessing this statistic is a worldwide one. if so, we need to consider how many of the people involved don’t have running water.

    for us it is a 2 minute job, but not so for many of them! add to that the fact that often the running water they have is at varying levels of contaminated! usually it needs to be boiled…or more.

    we americans underestimate the luxuries we take for granted…like running water that is usually clean enough to drink without it being full of parasites or hepatitis (fecal contamination).

    sometimes a simple task for us isn’t so simple for the world-wide community. yes, it is important to wash hands. but what does the poor woman do who must walk a mile or more to carry water on her head? she probably won’t be “wasting” much water on hand-washing. too bad:(

  • Pingback: Kelli Nelson:Saving Newborn Lives, A Global Conversation - Kelli Nelson()