A New Strategy for Management of Newborn Infection
Bangladesh had made quick progress in reducing child mortality, but newborn deaths were still too high and hindered the country’s progress in meeting MDG4. Infections contributed to 50% of all deaths in newborn babies.
- Research: A home-care strategy deployed in Sylhet district led to community health workers successfully referring about a third of newborn infection cases and treating more than a third of cases with injectable antibiotics in homes.
- Policy: National Neonatal Health Strategy and Guidelines for Bangladesh published in 2009 specifically refer to this randomized control trial as demonstrating a rationale for a series of interventions to identify and treat newborn sepsis, such as using trained community health workers to visit new mothers at home, assess newborns, and where necessary, provide oral and injectable medication.
- Practice: Thousands of community health workers were charged with implementing new guidelines.
- Impact: Deaths due to newborn infections have decreased dramatically. By the end of 2014, Bangladesh was one of only five countries projected to meet MDG4, an achievement many did not anticipate just a few years earlier.