Global Policy on Improving Cord Care
WHO guidelines recommended keeping the umbilical cord of newborn babies dry and clean. Yet this guideline didn’t make sense in developing country contexts. Trials led by our center in Nepal and Bangladesh showed that applying an antiseptic known as Chlorhexidine (CHX) reduced newborn mortality dramatically.
- Research: Our findings published in 2006 from Nepal and 2012 from Bangladesh demonstrated that applying CHX in high mortality settings to disinfect babies’ umbilical cords reduced mortality by about 1/5.
- Policy: With our support, WHO issued a new guideline in 2014 stating that daily CHX application is recommended in the first week of life for all newborns born in settings with high rates of newborn deaths.
- Practice: 25 such countries are considering or have put this policy into practice.
- Impact: If implemented in appropriate settings at scale, this practice has the potential to save 500,000 newborn babies every year.