That’s a significant target, within just one of the aspirational Global Goals that were adopted at the UN General Assembly in September 2015. It is also a target that is integral to our work at E4A-MamaYe as we advocate for African leaders to ensure that no mother or baby is left behind.
In 2015, the global under-5 mortality rate was 43 per 1,000 live births, while the global neonatal mortality rate was 19 per 1,000 live births (WHO). We still have a way to go, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where the E4A-MamaYe programme is working hard to address the issues surrounding quality of care and ensuring that individuals, organisations and governments across Africa are working to make pregnancy and childbirth safer.
There is however great news. Between 2000 – 2015 there was an annual rate of reduction in neonatal mortality by 3.1% (WHO). In Tanzania you can see how investments in quality care, education in the importance of using a skilled birth provider and delivering in a health facility has led to more than 50% reduction. If these rates in reduction are maintained the global neonatal mortality rate can be reduced to meet the SDG 3.2 target.
Such success shows that political choices can lead to real change. Success also shows that when African governments develop, implement and fund policies, programmes and plans, lives can be saved.
To ensure that countries progress towards maximising newborn survival it is crucial that everyone focuses on the data and evidence. If the Global Goals are going to be achieved all children need to be counted. At E4A-MamaYe, having data available to inform our programming and hold leaders to account is central to our theory of change. Data on newborn deaths must be recorded and reported publicly in accessible formats. MamaYe Nigeria is working on an innovative initiative in Lagos State where a number of hospitals have begun electronic auditing of maternal and perinatal deaths.
E4A-MamaYe has seen the impact our Activists have in ensuring that newborn survival and health is improved. We know that when communities call out for change, armed with the evidence, they are better prepared to remind their leaders of the commitments they have made and the areas where improvements are required. Real change is possible.
This year the world celebrates International Day of the African Child on June 16 and 17, focusing on the theme “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity”.
Today, on International Day of the African Child, we ask E4A-MamaYe supporters and partners to:
Remind your leaders of the ‘Transforming our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. Remind them that less than two years ago they made a commitment to ensure that no one is left behind. Remind them that the efforts made during the MDGs (2000 – 2015) need to be maintained because IT IS POSSIBLE FOR THE GLOBAL NEONATAL MORTALITY RATE TO BE REDUCED to meet the SDG 3.2 target.
Let us all work towards accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity for all African children.