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
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