URC Contributes to 2013 Global Newborn Health Conference

URC and its non-profit affiliate the Center for Human Services (CHS) will participate in the 2013 Global Newborn Health Conference April 15–18 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The conference will focus on accelerating the expansion of maternal and newborn health approaches proven to reduce mortality.  

USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP); Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are hosting the conference, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and with additional support from John Snow, Inc.; the Laerdal Foundation; and Jhpiego.

Status of Newborn Health Worldwide

According to the WHO, newborn deaths account for nearly 40 percent of all deaths among children under age five, and almost 80 percent of newborn deaths are due to three primary causes:


  1. Prematurity and low-birth-weight,
  2. Infections, and
  3. Asphyxia (when babies are born not breathing).

Much progress has been made in reducing the overall death rate among children under five. However, the proportion of newborn deaths among under-five deaths has been increasing, and many countries with the highest burdens of newborn mortality are still far from meeting their Millennium Development Goal four of reducing the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015.

Our Commitment to Maternal and Newborn Health

URC and CHS work to ensure that mothers give birth safely and that their babies have a healthy start to life by preventing and addressing the leading causes of maternal and newborn death and disability. We draw on proven strategies to implement and scale up best practices, connect households to health facilities, link and integrate services, and advocate for better policies.

We collaborate with partners and support host countries in implementing an integrated care model that identifies gaps in health care delivery and opportunities for improvement in local health systems, focuses on national priorities, and builds on and maximizes existing resources. We strive to ensure that all our strategies translate into improved uptake of services, improved quality of services, and improved health outcomes for mothers and children around the world.

In recent years, URC and CHS staff has been at the forefront of several cutting-edge newborn health areas, including:

  • The integration of informal and formal health systems in settings with high rates of home births;
  • The integration of maternal and newborn health care in all phases of the “continuum of care”: pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, birth, newborn/postnatal, childhood, and adolescence;
  • The application of improvement and health system strengthening approaches to achieve, scale up, and sustain high quality newborn services;
  • The promotion of respectful, client-centered, and culturally responsive maternal and newborn care; and
  • The use of innovative approaches to improve health worker performance, productivity, and engagement.

Conference Presentations

The presentations highlighted below provide a sample of our current newborn health work, with representation from the URC-managed USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) project, and the CHS-managed USAID Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care (EONC) Networks project.


Country Experiences in Delivering an Integrated Maternal and Newborn Package (Session 1D) 

Monday, April 15, 15:15–16:15
Moderator: Gamal Serour, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO)
Countries represented:

  • Ecuador, by Jorge Hermida, EONC project
  • Nepal, by Senendra Raj Uprety, Ministry of Health (MOH), Nepal
  • Rwanda, Victor Mivumbi, MOH, Rwanda

Systems Aspects of Delivering Newborn Care at Scale (Session 3A)
Wednesday, April 17, 8:30–10:30
Moderator: Ishtiaq Mannan, MCHIP

  • “Health Systems Strengthening: Improving the Quality of Newborn Care Services” by Kathleen Hill, HCI and ASSIST projects
  • “How to Make System-Wide Changes for Newborns” by Ann Phoya, MOH, Malawi
  • “Task Shifting and Implications for Newborn Care” by Assumpta Muriithi, WHO Regional Office for Africa
  • “Linking Maternal and Newborn Health” by Deliwe Nyathikazi, International Confederation of Midwives
  • “System Strengthening for Newborn Health in El Salvador” by Yanira Burgos, MOH, El Salvador


Using Data for Decision-Making for Delivery of Newborn Health Services at Country Level (Concurrent Session 3D)
Wednesday, April 17, 14:15–15:15
Moderator: Barbara Rawlins, MCHIP

  • “Experiences Using Routine Monitoring Data for Quality Improvement of Newborn Health in Ecuador” by Jorge Hermida, HCI and EONC projects
  • “Standardization of Indicators: The Newborn Indicator Working Group” by Deborah Sitrin, Save the Children
  • “Experience Using Data from the DHS [Demographic and Health Survey] to Shape Policy and Planning at National Level in Bangladesh” by Subrata Bhadra, National Institute of Population Research and Training
  • “Use of Facility-Based Assessments for Decision-Making” by Peter Waiswa, Makerere University School of Public Health, Uganda


URC-CHS Exhibition Booth
Monday, April 15, 19:00–21:00
Stop by our booth to learn more about our innovative approaches to tackling newborn care challenges and scaling up best practices.

The following videos will be displayed at the booth (click on the image to launch the video):


April 08, 2013
Regions/ Countries