Home rewiredesign August 24, 2020

The Lancet Series on Small Vulnerable Newborns

The Series

The Lancet Series on small vulnerable newborns is a five-article collection exploring the pathways to babies being born “too small” or “too early” and the evidence-based interventions that, if fully implemented, would enhance the survival and health of small vulnerable newborns and benefit babies, mothers, and society.  

On May 9th, 2023, the Series was launched in Cape Town, South Africa, with authors and experts calling for a whole-of-society response to small vulnerable newborns. The time to act is now. Every newborn, family, and society has the right to survive and thrive. Everywhere.


©UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Pudlowski

The Issue

Small vulnerable newborns refers to babies born preterm, small-for-gestational-age, or with low birthweight. They have a significantly reduced chance of survival and those that do survive are susceptible to health problems, including developmental delays, disability, and feeding complications. Alongside other factors, limited access to pre and postnatal healthcare, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, contributes to babies born with these small vulnerable newborn profiles.

The Solution

Despite readily-available solutions to prevent the number of small vulnerable newborns, progress in every region of the world is slow. Addressing the challenges requires coordinated efforts from healthcare providers, policymakers, and civil society to ensure all mothers and babies get the care and support they need to thrive – wherever they live. Immediate solutions are possible through improved access to quality pre and postnatal care and simple interventions – such as bed nets and dietary supplements. The Lancet Series sets out ten interventions – in addition to others that require further evaluation – that have the potential to address small vulnerable newborns worldwide.

Optimizing Newborn care in Benishangul Gumuz

 ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2021/Mulugeta Ayene

Preventing Small Vulnerable Newborns

The Series Launch

in Cape Town

On May 9th, 2023, Cape Town in South Africa hosted the launch of the five-article Lancet Series on small and vulnerable newborns.

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