Home > Evidence > Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths

Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths

Despite remarkable progress in reducing the deaths of children under-five worldwide, newborn deaths and stillbirths are falling at a much slower rate.  Under-five mortality has fallen by nearly a half since 1990, whereas neonatal mortality fell by only 37% and accounts for 44% of the total mortality of under-five children. These deaths are now preventable as we know more about what interventions and service delivery pathways are effective, and what strategies can help to improve coverage and quality of care.

In light of this need to do more to save the lives of newborns, commitments have been recently renewed by governments and partners in recognition of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, the Every Woman, Every Child initiative, and recommendations from the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health and the Commission on Life Saving Commodities.

These commitments initiated the development of the Every Newborn Action Plan, launched at the Partners’ Forum in Johannesburg at the end of June 2014. The Action Plan was developed following an extensive global consultation process with governments, professional associations, non-governmental organisations and individuals. The final plan was taken to the 67th World Health Assembly in May 2014 and endorsed by all member states in attendance.  

Using the latest evidence and learning, the Action Plan sets out a framework to end preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths by 2035. It is underpinned by the vision of

“A world where there are no preventable deaths of newborns or stillbirths, where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth celebrated and women, babies and children survive, thrive and reach their full potential”.


1. Ending preventable newborn deaths

By 2035, all countries will reach the target of 10 or less newborn deaths per 1,000 live births and continue to reduce death and disability, ensuring that no newborn is left behind.

2. Ending preventable stillbirths

By 2035, all countries will reach the target of 10 or less stillbirths per 1,000 total births and continue to close equity gaps.

Strategic objectives:

  1. Strengthen and invest in care during labour, birth and the first day and week of life
  2. Improve the quality of maternal and newborn care.
  3. Reach every woman and newborn to reduce inequities.
  4. Harness the power of parents, families and communities.
  5. Count every newborn through measurement, programme-tracking and accountability.

For each of the strategic objectives the report outlines the rationale for focusing on that area and the proposed actions needed to attain that objective.

It is estimated that nearly 3 million babies and women could be saved every year if the goals and targets in the plan are implemented and successfully achieved. 

To read the Every Newborn Action Plan, click here.

World Health Organization & UNICEF. (2014). Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths. Geneva: WHO.
Back to top