Newborn survival in Malawi: a decade of change and future implications.

Zimba, E; Kinney, MV; Kachale, F; Waltensperger, KZ; Blencowe, H; Colbourn, T; George, J; Mwansambo, C; Joshua, M; Chanza, H; Nyasulu, D; Mlava, G; Gamache, N; Kazembe, A; Lawn, JE; Malawi Newborn Change and Future Analysis Group, ; (2012) Newborn survival in Malawi: a decade of change and future implications. Health policy and planning, 27 Suppl 3. iii88-103. ISSN 0268-1080 DOI:

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: Malawi is one of two low-income sub-Saharan African countries on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG 4) for child survival despite high fertility and HIV and low health worker density. With neonatal deaths becoming an increasing proportion of under-five deaths, addressing newborn survival is critical for achieving MDG 4. We examine change for newborn survival in the decade 2000-10, analysing mortality and coverage indicators whilst considering other contextual factors. We assess national and donor funding, as well as policy and programme change for newborn survival using standard analyses and tools being applied as part of a multi-country analysis. Compared with the 1990s, progress towards MDG 4 and 5 accelerated considerably from 2000 to 2010. Malawi's neonatal mortality rate (NMR) reduced slower than annual reductions in mortality for children 1-59 months and maternal mortality (NMR reduced 3.5% annually). Yet, the NMR reduced at greater pace than the regional and global averages. A significant increase in facility births and other health system changes, including increased human resources, likely contributed to this decline. High level attention for maternal health and associated comprehensive policy change has provided a platform for a small group of technical and programme experts to link in high impact interventions for newborn survival. The initial entry point for newborn care in Malawi was mainly through facility initiatives, such as Kangaroo Mother Care. This transitioned to an integrated and comprehensive approach at community and facility level through the Community-Based Maternal and Newborn Care package, now being implemented in 17 of 28 districts. Addressing quality gaps, especially for care at birth in facilities, and including newborn interventions in child health programmes, will be critical to the future agenda of newborn survival in Malawi.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
PubMed ID: 22692419
Web of Science ID: 305456800007


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