Reducing Neonatal mortality in Turkey

Author(s): Seval Akgun

Deaths of children immediately after birth call the attention of governments and international stakeholders, around the world. Globally, 2.5 million children died in the first month of life, in 2017. Approximately 7000 newborns die every day, with about 1 million dying on the first day, and close to 1 million dying within the next 6 days. Despite changes in national health systems, a burden of neonatal deaths in the first days after birth remains high, in a developing world. In developing world, rates of neonatal deaths, are from 2 to 6-fold the rates in developed world. In Turkey, provision of hospitals and primary care facilities with equipment and standards as well as education for their staff were key interventions supported by government. However, despite the great investments, the biggest portion of newborns dies in the first 7 days of their lives, i.e. in healthcare facilities or immediately after leaving them. This possibly mean that, in Turkey, the potential of standardized care to decrease neonatal mortality is exhausting. Moreover, healthcare by itself may provide an underestimated risk for newborns health. In this context, an evaluation of both the positive and negative role of healthcare in a newborns mortality becomes vital for a prospective policy, in the country. Another issue is a role of nutritional or lifestyle associated factors impacting to the parents of newborns during intrauterine period and period until the conception.