Photo of the Week: saving newborns and mothers

A woman is seen cradling her infant in this photograph taken in 2014 by photographer Kate Holt at the Mwembeladu Maternity Home in Zanzibar in the United Republic of Tanzania. She is using ‘kangaroo care’, where mothers with no access to incubators hold their preterm babies constantly against their skin to keep them warm.

Millions of newborn deaths can be prevented each year with proven interventions such as ‘kangaroo mother care’. Newborn deaths account for 44 per cent of total mortality among children under five, and represent a larger proportion of under-five deaths now than they did in 1990. These deaths tend to be among the poorest and most disadvantaged populations.

According to UNICEF, 2.9 million babies die each year within their first 28 days. An additional 2.6 million babies are still-born, and 1.2 million of those deaths occur when the baby’s heart stops during labour. The first 24 hours after birth are the most dangerous for both child and mother – almost half of maternal and newborn deaths occur then.

Christine Nesbitt is UNICEF’s Senior Photography Editor

To see more images from UNICEF visit UNICEF Photography.

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  1. Thank you, Christine! A stunning photo that could launch reams of writing. One only has to look at the way the infant’s eyes are straining to connect to the mother to understand everything. Even male birds give their mates the nesting grounds to nourish young. Why should the human realm be any different? The infant is soooo tiny, but in its few millimeters contains all the preciousness of the life force. And the mother’s look–full of maternal knowing and staunch determination. This is truly a photo of hope, vision and shared destiny.

  2. Thank you, it is a wonderful photo of God’s creation. Love is shining from the mother and child!