Homepage rewiredesign February 6, 2020

Small Newborns, Big Problems:

A Global Challenge

Every fourth baby in the world is born "too soon" or "too small" - as a small vulnerable newborn.

Baby newborn-illustration-

This is contributing to a significant proportion of stillbirths and more than half of neonatal mortality.

While every region faces this issue, it is more prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Investment in maternal wellbeing and higher quality antenatal care is essential.

With just $1 billion per year, we can annually prevent an estimated:
million vulnerable newborn births
neonatal deaths

Improved data collection on outcomes, like birth weight, is necessary to enhance understanding of interventions and drive equity and accountability.

Yekatit 12 hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

©UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Pudlowski

The Lancet Series on small vulnerable newborns calls for more

political commitment investment coordinated action

The time to act is now. Every newborn, family, and society has the right to survive and thrive.


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